Underdog, Tennis Club at UCF Overcomes Challenges and Becomes National Tournament Bound

Posted Friday, February 28, 2020 @ 5:07 PM

Author: Guilherme Hiray-Leal

The Tennis Club at UCF qualified for nationals after an outstanding performance at the USTA Florida TOC Sectional Championship this past weekend.

The tournament, held at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, received 32 teams from 12 different colleges from all over the state of Florida.

After the draws of the tournament’s seeds, the team was nervous as they would face the No. 1 team, UF, in the first round.

“Have a chip on your shoulder,” said Andrea Snead, Assistant Director of Sport Clubs, Inclusive Recreation, and Risk Management. “Play with passion and play like Knights.”

And that is when things changed. UCF outplayed UF in both men’s (Taylor Streada and Michael Mendez) and women’s (Natalia Illuzzi and Illana Gomez Diaz) doubles, Jason Hsieh, president of the Tennis Club at UCF, said. The same can be said about singles athletes Jonathan Dzung and Illana Gomez Diaz.

“They showed so much momentum,” he said. “They felt the hype from our doubles players and carried that into singles.”

UCF would eventually place second overall in the gold bracket, but most importantly they earned their spot in the USTA National Tournament.

“I felt so proud,” Hsieh said. “We had so much support that really helped us a lot.”

What is going to happen at Nationals is another story, but what the Tennis Club accomplished is already history.

Tennis Club at UCF Group Photo
Tennis Club at UCF