As reported by the Auburn University website, the men's team won the 75th Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic! For the first time since 1984, the Tigers defeated three ranked opponents en route to the championship. Auburn defeated no.44 Texas Tech in the first round, no.25 Middle Tennessee in the semifinals, and no.14 Arizona in the finals.
After a slight rain delay on Friday, Auburn and Texas Tech started in singles, which was all the Tigers needed to get a first-round win. Murgett and Tyler Stice each won their matches in straight sets to give the Tigers an early 2-0 lead.
Then Dobai took a close third set to claim the point on court six and freshman Alejandro Moreno came back after dropping his first set to win on court two to clinch the match for Auburn by a score of 4-1. Auburn then played the doubles portion of the game against their next opponent, No.
25 Middle Tennessee, on Friday night. Stice and Moreno won their game on court three to give Auburn the lead, then the doubles team of Dobai and Murgett, the 46th ranked doubles team in the nation, upset No. 44 Francisco Rocha and Oskar Brostrom Poulsen in a a close 7-6 win to claim double points for the Tigers.
Murgett was first to claim victory in straight sets on court four. Shortly after Murgett's victory, Stice defeated No. 69 Stijn Slump in straight sets by a score of 6-1, 7-5, putting the Tigers within one point of victory. After taking the first set in a tiebreaker, Galka reclaimed his second set 6-0 over Marcel Kamrowski to give Auburn victory in the semifinals by a score of 4-0.
The semifinal win set up a prime time championship game with No. 14 Arizona. The Wildcats had defeated Nebraska and No. 41 Oklahoma earlier in the tournament to pound their ticket to the Finals. Murgett and Dobai got Auburn off to a flying start on the doubles court, defeating Jonas Ziverts and Jay Friend on the one-court 6-2.
Galka and Billy Blaydes then won their two-court match 6-4 to capture the doubles point. For the third time in as many games, Murgett was the first finisher in a sensational 6-1, 6-1 win on court four. The Wildcats then had wins on courses one and three to tie the game at two.
Blaydes then won a crucial game to take the third set on court six to help Auburn regain the 3-2 lead. Needing just one more match win to reclaim the championship, Galka came back after dropping his first set to defeat Herman Hoeyeraal on court five by a score of 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.
Senior Finn Murgett was named tournament MVP after the final game for his amazing weekend in which he went perfect 3-0 in singles and both doubles. In addition, Elder Jan Galka received the tournament's sportsmanship award.
Murgett told: "I think we've hit our stride over the past few days. Playing in front of an Auburn crowd, it's very easy to compete with everyone rooting for us. We're learning that it's the team that has to be successful and everyone can contribute.
I'm starting to understand that my college career is coming to a dead end, and I want to make the most of it and compete as hard as possible." Head coach Bobby Reynolds said: "This championship has been a long time coming.
There have been a lot of heartaches for us here over the years, but this year has been worth it. We have a great group of guys fighting the for each other. They understand that the individual is not as important as the team that comes together and who can dig the deepest.
No matter what the obstacle, they are always next up. What we played was a great team from Arizona, and this will be great preparation for the SEC season right in front of us."
About Auburn University
Auburn is a public university located in Auburn, Alabama, United States.
With more than 25,000 students and 1,200 faculty members, it is one of the largest in the state. Auburn University's sports teams are known as the Tigers and compete in Division I-A of the NCAA and the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
Auburn has won 19 intercollegiate championships (including 17 NCAA championships), three of them in football (1913, 1957, 2010), 8 in men's swimming and diving (1997, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 ), 5 in women's swimming and diving (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007), 2 in equestrian (2008, 2011), and one in women's track and field (2006).
Auburn has also won a total of 70 Southeastern Conference titles, 51 men's and 19 women's. Auburn's colors are orange and blue, chosen by George Petrie, the head coach of the college's football team, inspired by the colors of his alma mater, the University of Virginia.
Auburn was founded on February 7, 1856 during the presidency of Franklin Pierce, as East Alabama Male College, a private liberal arts school affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1872 the college became the first public university to benefit from the Morrill Act and was renamed the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama. Photo credits: Auburn University website