The Hatter Tennis Club made its debut to the 2010 season with the UF Gatorbowl held at the University of Florida on October 2nd and October 3rd. Participating in the tournament was senior James Hudson Smith and sophomores Daniel Lozada, Michael Wolodkowicz, and Justin Miller. USTA Tennis on Campus tournaments offer the opportunity of traveling to different schools around the state with a chance to compete against other public and private universities. USTA promotes an atmosphere of enjoyment and friendly competition among players who demonstrate passion for the game of tennis.
The University of South Florida also hosted the next Tennis on Campus tournament on October 23rd and October 24th known as the USF Bullrun. This tournament included a World Team Tennis format with both men and women participating in events such as men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles and doubles, and mixed doubles. New members of the Hatter Tennis Club included freshmen Tyler White, Sai Oicata, and Alexandria Lopes. Highlights of this tournament was Stetson’s victory over the Florida State B team with Daniel Lozada and Michael Wolodkowicz winning 6-3 and their victory over the University of Miami A Team.
The overall satisfaction of the Tennis Club has been phenomenal with a major improvement from its previous tournament at the University of Florida. “We are slowly gaining confidence and we are improving on our consistency and winning mentality,” said sophomore Daniel Lozada after Stetson’s victory over the Florida State B Team. “It is only a matter of time before we clean up at the next tournament.”
Stetson University’s Hatter Tennis Club's next stop in the Tennis on Campus series was the UCF Knightro Cup held at the University of Central Florida. Participating in the event were sophomores Daniel Lozada and Justin Miller, freshman Tyler White, and senior James Hudson Smith. Playing format included World Team Tennis scoring (total of 5 games) with players switching opponents after each singles match. Additionally, there was also a best two-out-of-three set doubles match.
In the first round Stetson drew the University of Central Florida D team. Tyler White and Justin Miller played singles and Daniel Lozada and James Smith took charge of the doubles match. The first set of singles matches did not go in Stetson’s favor with scores ranging from 5-1 and 5-2, but the upcoming singles matches were met with much enthusiasm. Coming back from a 2-4 deficit, Tyler White came back to win his singles match 5-2. Justin Miller served extremely well in his next singles match with minimal double faults and his usual hard-hitting style. He won his match 5-4. An exhibition doubles match to eight games was played with Lozada and Smith taking the match 8-1 against UCF.
Later in the day, Stetson played against the University of Florida A Team, the highest ranked team in the USTA Tennis on Campus division. Order of play for Stetson was switched to Tyler White and Justin Miller playing doubles and Daniel Lozada and James Smith playing singles. It had been a wonderful day of tennis but it was unfortunately Stetson’s last stop in the tournament. “We need to get better by practicing more consistently and getting out there as much as possible,” said James Smith after his singles matches. "The team is slowly building up its confidence among its members and it will only be a matter of time before they make a breakthrough in the rankings. After all, practice does make perfect."
The Hatter Tennis Club offers a friendly environment comprised of individuals who are both experienced and beginner-level players. Practices are every Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM and Fridays from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Participation in tournaments build character and the opportunity to bond with your fellow teammates on and off the tennis courts. It is a very enjoyable experience that is both incomparable and unforgettable.