With all eight ITA National Team Indoor Championships now in the books, we take a look back at some of the top storylines from across all action over these past five weekends of play.
Featuring the top men’s and women’s teams from NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III, and NAIA, the 2023 ITA National Team Indoor Championships lived up to the hype once again, delivering many marquee matchups across every level of play.
Below we recap the top moments from the 2023 ITA National Team Indoor Championships so that college tennis fans can relive the excitement.
The Year of Repeat Champions
The 2023 ITA Indoor season marked the year of repeat champions as five of the eight ITA National Team Indoor Champions also won the event in the 2022 season.
At the Division I Championships, North Carolina continued its historic streak as ITA Women’s Indoor Champions, while on the men’s side, TCU made it back-to-back championships after winning their first-ever title last season.
North Carolina once again continued its dominance indoors, as the Tar Heels won their fourth straight ITA Indoor Championship in Seattle this year. Taking down Pepperdine, Michigan, Texas A&M, and Georgia en route to the Title, North Carolina has now won five Indoor Championships in the past six years and seven Indoor Championships in the past decade.
At the Division I Men’s event in Chicago, TCU successfully defended its indoor title by defeating Baylor, Georgia, Kentucky, and Texas over the four days of play. TCU became just the seventh program in the tournament’s history to win back-to-back Championships and the first since Virginia in 2010 and 2011.
From the Division II Championships, Barry was another repeat Champion on the women’s side of play as the Buccaneers took down Sunshine State Conference foe, Saint Leo, in the Final to claim the 2023 ITA Indoor Championship.
This is the third ITA Indoor Championship for Barry in the tournament’s four-year history. The Buccaneers, who did not compete in 2021 due to Covid-19 restrictions, have won this event every year in which they have participated.
The ITA Division III Men’s and Women’s Indoor Championships produced two additional back-to-back Champions as Case Western Reserve won the men’s title and UChicago prevailed in the women’s final.
Case Western Reserve became just the third repeat Champion at the Division III level by defeating Emory, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, and WashU to win the National Championship.
On the women’s side, UChicago remained unbeaten on the season, cruising past Carnegie Mellon, Pomona-Pitzer, and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps en route to their second-straight Indoor Championship.
Keiser Ends Georgia Gwinnett’s Historic Win Streaks at ITA Indoor Championships
At the first-ever ITA NAIA National Team Indoor Championships, it was the Keiser Seahawks who stole the show, winning Men’s & Women’s Championships to end Georgia Gwinnett’s historic win streak atop the NAIA level.
In the Women’s Finals, Keiser jumped out to an early lead in doubles over Georgia Gwinnett as Violet Apisah and Ksenija-Ana Vujacic won 6-4 on court one, while Elyse Lavender and Vanja Vidanovic won in a tiebreak on court two to give the Seahawks the early advantage.
In singles, the match only picked up in intensity as the teams battled across all six courts in pursuit of the inaugural ITA NAIA Women’s National Team Indoor Championship.
With each team earning straight-set wins on two courts apiece, Keiser’s lead was now built to 3-2 with the remaining two matches headed into third-set tiebreakers to determine the winner.
From court five, Angel Carney of Georgia Gwinnett fought back from a first-set deficit to win 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 over Vanja Vidanovic, setting the stage for Keiser’s Elyse Lavender to secure the match for the Seahawks at the No. 1 position, clinching the inaugural NAIA Indoor Championship for Keiser.
The win snapped the Grizzlies 63-match winning streak and marked Keiser’s first NAIA National Championship in program history.
In the Men’s Final, it was another close contest as both teams were hungry to claim the inaugural ITA NAIA Men’s National Team Indoor Title after each team cruised through the first two rounds of play.
In doubles, Georgia Gwinnett showed why they haven’t lost a match in more than seven years, winning 6-4 at the No. 1 position and 6-0 at the No. 3 position to take the early lead.
In singles, the Grizzlies continued their momentum with quick straight-set wins on courts one and two, however, the momentum quickly shifted in favor of Keiser just shortly after.
Pushing the matches to third sets on courts three, four, five, and six, the Seahawks showed a great ability to close in the biggest moments, winning 6-3 in the third set on court three, 6-2 in the third on court four, and 6-1 in the third set on courts five and six to claim the victory.
The win over Georgia Gwinnett marked the first time the Grizzlies had been beaten in 173 matches, a streak that lasted longer than seven years.
Record Viewership for the 2023 Indoor Championships
The 2023 ITA Division I National Team Indoor Championships produced a record number of viewers for this storied event.
The Cracked Racquets CrossCourt Cast coverage of the Division I Men’s and Women’s Indoor Championships surpassed 65,000 viewers on the Cracked Racquets YouTube channel, a 120% increase over last year.
Total viewership for the ITA Division I Women’s National Team Indoor Championship increased 133% from 2022, with the biggest daily increase in viewership more than 220% on the opening day of play.
Similarly at the ITA Division I Men’s National Team Indoor Championship, total viewership was up 110% from 2022 with the biggest increase in viewership being more than 170% during Semifinal action on Sunday.
Across all of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, more than 100,000 viewers tuned into the action in 2023, as access and coverage of college tennis continues to become more accessible to fans.
Saint Leo Wins Program’s First ITA Men’s Indoor Championship
There was a first-time Champion at the 2023 ITA Division II Men’s National Team Indoor Championship as Saint Leo prevailed in Indianapolis to claim their program’s first National Championship.
After going 9-3 in 2021 and 19-6 in 2022, the Lions have continued to show steady growth under Coach Chad Berryhill, starting the 2023 season 9-0 including the ITA Indoor Championship in Indianapolis.
Beginning their weekend against No. 9 Hawaii Pacific, the Lions were put to the test early after dropping the doubles point to the Sharks. Not phased by the pressure, Saint Leo was able to right the ship in singles play winning four positions in straight sets to advance to the Semifinals.
Against No. 2 Columbus State, Saint Leo won the doubles point and added singles wins at the No. 2, No. 3, and No. 6 positions to clinch their spot in the Finals for the first time in program history.
Taking on hosts and No. 7 UIndy, the Lions again bounced back from dropping the doubles point with singles victories from the No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, and No. 5 positions to claim the Title.
In addition to the program’s first ITA Indoor Championship, Saint Leo has beaten five ranked opponents to start the season, including four who rank in the Top Ten.