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Men's and Women's Small College Championships

After the success of the Men's and Women's Bedford Cup Events, the Youth Tennis Foundation of Florida (YTF) decided in 2018 to host and fund a YTF Small College Championship featuring men and women from the state's Division II, NAIA and Junior College teams. This event would provide a unique opportunity for these three divisions of college tennis to compete against one another in the same tournament. The first two years of the event have been played at the Beerman Family Tennis Center in Lakeland.

2023 Division II Tournament

The 2023 Men's and Women's Small College Championship was held on the weekend of Sept. 29-Oct 1. This event was played at the Dave Beerman Family Tennis Center in Lakeland and Andrew Dickens, coach of the Southeastern men's and women's tennis teams, was the tournament director. He was ably assisted by his wife, Kelsey.

Over 90 players competed in the tournament, down from 120 last year. Teams from the University of Tampa, Flagler College, St. Leo University, Warner, Florida National, and Southeastern University participated.

Julie Ball of the University of Tampa defeated her teammate, Kristina Miletic, in the women's final.

In doubles, Tampa's team of Nicole Cierniak and Kristina Miletic defeated Laura Linescu and Antonia Pfeiffer of Flagler in the final.

On the men's side, Brunoe Pessoa of Southeastern University won the men's single title, defeating Victor Johannson of St. Leo University. St. Leo’s duo of Nicolas Bacella and Ghali Mensour won the doubles over SEU's team of Bruno Pessoa and Piero Fernandez.

2022 Division II Tournament

The YTF Southeastern Collegiate Invitational Tournament was held at Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL on Oct. 21-23, 2022. Coach Drew Dickens reported over 150 college men and women athletes played tennis for three days; it was the largest tournament they hosted, to date.

The players represented the following colleges: St. Leo University, St. Thomas University, Ava Maria University, Florida National University, Flagler College, Warner University, University of Tampa, and Savannah College of Art & Design.

2021 Women's Division II Tournament

Postponed from the fall of 2021 the Women's Division II Tournament was held February 7-9, 2022 and hosted by the University of Tampa at the Naimoli & Young Family Tennis Complex. In addition to the University of Tampa, participants included St. Leo University, Florida Southern College and St. Petersburg College.

St. Leo topped the weekend competition with 30 combined singles and doubles wins followed by Tampa with 18 combined wins, Florida Southern with 10 combined wins and St. Petersburg with 4 combined wins.

Altogether, 47 singles matches and 14 doubles matches were played.

2021 Men's Division II Tournament

On the weekend of October 29-31st, Saint Leo University hosted the first ever Saint Leo Hidden Dual Fall Invitational sponsored by the Youth Tennis Foundation of Florida. This format allows college teams to participate against each other in a dual match type format however participating against different teams in doubles and singles each day of the event. Aside from the host, Saint Leo University also welcomed Flagler College, Florida Southern College, and Rollins College to the Saint Leo Tennis Center. Also, participants competed in one doubles and one singles contest each day against another participating school.

No individual participants were crowned champions however there were definitely some notable performances. Playing out of the #1 singles position each day, Bruno Faletto of Saint Leo went 3-0 on the weekend in singles. Faletto who finished # 12 in the country in NCAA Division II last season dispatched Denis Golubev of Rollins 6-4; 6-2 on Friday and followed it up with a tough three set victory against Flagler's Nikita Tatyanin 6-7 (10); 6-3; 6-0 on Saturday. The finale had him defeating Oscar Sohl of Florida Southern 6-2; 6-2.

Also from the Saint Leo squad, Nicolas Bacella went a perfect 3-0 over the weekend defeating from Mikkel Bauman from Rollins, 6-1; 6-0, Oscar Del Granado from Flagler 7-5; 6-1, and Matteo Feggi from Florida Southern 6-1; 6-3. Also having a stellar weekend from Flagler College was Philipp Lemken. Lemken paced the Saints winning his first match 6-0; 6-0 against Elliott Altman from Florida Southern. He then defeated Vincent Thiel from Saint Leo 7-6 (1); 4-6; 6-2, before capping his perfect weekend on Sunday against Phillip McMurray with a 6-3; 6-0 victory. Willem van den Akker from Saint Leo also enjoyed a perfect 3-0 weekend playing out of the #5 singles position.

In doubles, it was Denis Golubev and Mikkel Bauman defeating Bruno Faletto and Willem van den Akker on the final day 6-3 to cap off their impressive weekend finished 2-1. Faletto and van den Akker also enjoyed a 2-1 doubles record out of the top flight. Having a perfect record of 3-0 out of the 3rd doubles position was Nicolas Bacella and Luis Iriarte of Saint Leo.

The tournament director for the weekend was Saint Leo Head Coach, Chad Berryhill. He concluded the weekend by saying, "I cannot thank the Youth Tennis Foundation of Florida enough for their support and generosity in helping us host such a great event. I also thank our three participating schools on a weekend of great tennis. Despite some weather challenges, we had a great event and each player walked away having competitive matches. I couldn't be happier!"

In addition to hosting the Men's D II YTF tennis event, Saint Leo was awarded a grant from the USTA this Fall to be a "Community Hub". As a result, we are beginning to host various clinics for youth tennis players as well as will be hosting a UTR event for players 21 and under in both December and January. Also, in January we are planning on doing a "Meet The Lions" day combined with a grand opening of our community tennis hub. It will be a free clinic for players of all ages and abilities levels. We have a lot of plans in store for youth tennis in the coming years so we are much at a beginning stage but starting to grow.

The Women's D II Youth Tennis Foundation event will be held at University of Tampa in February of 2022.

2021 Small College Event

The Youth Tennis Foundation of Florida (YTF) Invitational was held October 22 thru 24, 2021 at the Beerman Family Tennis Center in Lakeland, FL. Due to COVID the event was not held in 2020 but was held in 2018 and 2019. With 112 total student athletes competing, it was one of the largest turnouts in tournament history. Five NAIA intuitions were represented including Ave Maria, Florida National, St. Thomas, Southeastern University, and Warner University. The YTF Invitational was hosted by Southeastern University.

Singles was broken into two draws, the "Black" and "Red" Draw. In the Women's singles for her second consecutive year, Ave Maria's Lara Isis Teodoro De Oliveira won the black draw, 6-0 6-2 over teammate, Valentine Colin. For the Red draw, St. Thomas’s Nadia Abad won the finals 6-4 6-1 over Ave Marias Ellie Hire.

Nadia Abad (left), winner Red Draw over Ellie Hire.

For the men in the Black draw, Warner's Bruno Pessoa became a two time the tournament winner defeating Ave Marias Fernando Alejandro Orihuela 6-2 6-4 in the finals. In the Red draw finals, St. Thomas's Yosue Noa defeated Florida Nationals Alvaro Saucedo 4-6 6-4 (10-6) for the championship.

Red Draw Winner Yosue Noa (left) and runner-up, Alvaro Saucedo

For the doubles play, the #1 seeds both won for women and men. Ave Maria's pairing of Victoria Barandas and Lara Teodoro lived up to their seed, winning 8-6 in the finals. Southeastern's Roy Stepanov and Federico Barbon won 8-1 in the finals. Both teams had recently made it to the NAIA ITA Cup, and prove to be some of the best double teams in the nation.

Doubles Winners, Victoria Barandas (right) and Lara Teodoro

Doubles Runner-Up, Nicholas Hofmeister (right) and Felipe Amoring

Doubles Winners Federico Barbon (right) and Roy Stepanov

The YTF Invitational was a huge success, bringing young, aspiring college players to the tournament to spectate and cheer. The impact the tournament has in the community is immense, bringing former players, community members, and tennis fans together.

2019 Small College Event


Players from eight colleges and universities competed in the tournament, held at the Beerman Family Tennis Center in Lakeland, over the weekend of October 11-13. Ekaterina Grib, from the University of Tampa, won the women's event, besting Lixin Wang of Flagler College, 6-4, 6-4 in the final. On the men's side, Kayne Trustfull beat teammate Athanasios Bills, both men from St. Leo's University, in the final 6-4, 6-3.

The tournament had an international flavor to it. Players from all across the globe participated. Ekaterina is from Minsk, Belarus; Lixin is from China; Athanasios is from Greece; and Kayne is from the Netherlands. Well over half of the players came from countries other than the United States, which is a sign of the times...tennis is booming on the world stage. As it was last year, players came from over thirty different countries.

The NAIA schools are in the Sun Conference, whereas the D-II schools are in the Sunshine State Conference. As expected, players from the D-II teams, which included Tampa, Flagler and St. Leo's, dominated the event. Warner, Webber and Southeastern ably represented the NAIA schools and Chloe Murphy's team from the State College of Florida (Manatee-Sarasota), which was the only JUCO team to compete and win some matches as well.

2019 Small College Players

Winner Grib (left) and Wang

Grib and Savannah Williams (left) winners_ Anika Nissen and Alessandra Traub

Trustfall (left)

2018 Small College Event

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