MEDFORD - Junior Tilly Rigby and freshman Elle Christensen of the Tufts University women's tennis team will begin play at the 2021 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Cup in Rome, Georgia on Thursday.
Many of the nation's top singles and doubles women's and men's competitors from Division II, Division III, NAIA and JUCO will be in action at the event which continues through Sunday. It is recognized as college tennis' fall singles and doubles national championship event.
Rigby and Christensen earned a berth into the ITA Cup by winning the ITA New England doubles title October 1-3 at Bowdoin College. They defeated Sasha Gaeth and Kristina Yu from Wesleyan 6-4, 6-4 in the final.
The Tufts tandem will play Autumn Bruno and Cassie Lee from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the opening round of the tournament on Thursday. If they advance in the 16-team tournament, their quarterfinal opponents will be either Dakota Fordham and Carol Plakk from NYU, or Allie Zhiem and Emma Kesterson from Southwestern.
For the fifth consecutive year, the sprawling and gorgeous Rome Tennis Center at Berry College serves as the host location for this annual ITA event. The history of the ITA Cup, previously the National Small College Championships, dates back to 1986.
Rigby and Christensen will be competing for Tufts' third doubles national title at the event. Julia Browne and Meghan McCooey won back-to-back doubles titles at the ITA Small College Nationals in 2008 and 2009.
The Jumbo duo have reached the ITA Cup this fall despite limited time together. Their first tournament was the ITA Regionals two weeks ago where they won four matches to take the title. They also posted a 3-0 record at the Middlebury Invitational last weekend. The Jumbos are the #2 seed in the Division III women's doubles bracket this week.
Tufts tennis has had recent success at the ITA Cup with men's player Boris Sorkin winning back-to-back singles championships in 2018 and 2019.