We are at one of the most competitive times of the collegiate tennis season as we head into conference tournaments which are held all around the country.
We have many Australian players at schools that are in a number of different conferences which include the South Eastern Conference (SEC), American Athletic Conference (AAC), Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Pac-12 and the Ivy League and many others.
The SEC is arguably one of the strongest conferences in college tennis as there are nine Men’s teams and five Women’s teams from the SEC that are ranked inside the top 25 in the NCAA rankings. There are currently a number of players that played at SEC schools before transitioning onto the ATP and WTA Tour such as Nuno Borges (Mississippi State), Ben Shelton (Florida), Michael Venus (LSU), Ellen Perez (Georgia) and Astra Sharma (Vanderbilt).
The SEC tournament begins overnight tonight AEST with the Men's tournament hosted by Auburn University, in Auburn, Alabama and the Women’s tournament played at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The draw is a knock-out, team vs team format with the first team that accumulates four points gets the win for the day.
We have four Aussies in the Men’s draw which include Enzo Aguiard (Alabama), Chen Dong (Louisiana State University), Pat Harper (Tennessee) and Casey Hoole (South Carolina). Florida come in as the 8th seed and will look to defend their 2022 title which was led by American Ben Shelton, while Queenslander Pat Harper is currently the only Australian to be part of an SEC Championship team where the Tennessee Volunteers won the SEC title back in 2021 alongside graduate Adam Walton.
There is only one match on the schedule today which will be Arkansas against Vanderbilt, with the winner to play 5th ranked Texas A&M. The quarter-final stage starts on Thursday where 11th seed Alabama, featuring Enzo Aguiard at #2 singles will take on 6th seed Mississippi State. Brisbane’s Chen Dong will be put up to the challenge on Thursday as 10th seed LSU face off against 7th seed Ole Miss. Tennessee and South Carolina have received byes into the second quarter final stage as they await the winner of multiple matches.
The Women’s draw consists of 13 teams with the addition of Missouri. We have two Aussies, Catherine Aulia at Tennessee and Amy Stevens at Vanderbilt looking to make their mark at the tournament. Catherine is making her debut at the SEC tournament with the Volunteers coming in as the third seed have never won an SEC Championship in their history as a program.
Geelong’s Amy Stevens who is in her Sophomore Year is hoping to make a big run at the title, where Vanderbilt have won the title three times since 2015. The Commodores face Alabama in their first match on Thursday where the winner will face off against 1st seed, Texas A&M on Friday.
You can watch all the action on the ESPN Network (semi-finals and finals) or through the ESPN app. Be sure to follow us on our socials: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter where we will bring you up to date with results and highlights of the SEC Tournament.