GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The 32nd annual Debbie Southern Fall Classic women's tennis tournament will be held this weekend at the Mickel Tennis Center on the campus of Furman University in Greenville, S.C. The tournament will feature 12 teams, in a flighted competition (i.e. no team winner, just individual flight champions for singles and doubles).
Eleven teams competing in the tournament were ranked in the top 38 in the 2018 final ITA Collegiate Tennis rankings: Vanderbilt (2), North Carolina (3), Duke (4), Georgia Tech (5), Texas (6), South Carolina (12), Florida State (16), Wake Forest (27), Mississippi State (29), Ohio State (33), and Clemson (39). The 12-team field includes 21 singles players ranked in the top 75 and 11 doubles teams ranked in the top 40 in the preseason ITA Collegiate Tennis rankings.
Doubles play will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, followed by singles action at 1 p.m. Play will continue on Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m. each day. Admission is free to the event.
Also this weekend, Paladin junior Katarina Kozarov will compete at the Oracle ITA Masters tournament in Malibu, Calif. Created in 2015, the Oracle ITA Masters has established itself as one of the premier events of the collegiate tennis season. The tournament features singles draws of 32 men and 32 women, and a mixed doubles event with a 32-player draw. Players are chosen based upon conference representation, similar to the NCAA Tournament, with Kozarov representing the Southern Conference.
Play begins on Thursday with two rounds of mixed doubles and one round of singles. Friday's action will feature mixed doubles quarterfinals followed by the second round of singles competition. The singles quarterfinal round will also be played on Friday, followed by the mixed doubles semifinals. Singles matches will continue on Saturday, along with the mixed doubles championship. The singles championship and consolation finals will be held on Sunday, with the championship being streamed live on ESPN3.
"The Debbie Southern Fall Classic is always a lot of fun for our players and fans and the field of teams coming to the tournament just keeps getting stronger," said Furman head coach Adam Herendeen, who is in his fourth year at the helm of the Paladin program. "There is no better way to start the year than for our student athletes to play in two of the most prestigious tournaments in all of college tennis. With both of our tournaments getting cancelled last weekend, we are just eager to compete and get the fall tournament season underway."
The Paladins return five players from last season's team that posted a 20-9 overall record and won the SoCon regular season title for the third-consecutive season after posting a perfect 7-0 mark in league play. Furman, who won the SoCon tournament title and went on to compete at the NCAA Championships for the second-straight year, placed five players on the All-SoCon team, including Katarina Kozarov, who was named the 2018 SoCon Player of the Year.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information