A total of 15 colleges and universities from seven states and over 130 players participated in the three-day event.
Roddy and Gray capped off an outstanding run through the tournament by winning the title match over Emory's Adrien Bouchet and Jonathan Jemison, 9-7. Rafe Mosetick of Emory was crowned the singles champion after defeating Jemison 6-0, 6-3 in Sunday's singles final.
With the ITA Regional win, Roddy and Gray will qualify as 2015-16 ITA All-Americans. The Murfreesboro site was one of eight tournaments nationwide that will send winners to compete at the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships at the Palmetto Tennis Center in Sumter, South Carolina, October 15-18.
On their way to the title the former Baylor school teammates defeated the fourth, third, and first seeded teams in the championship event. The upsets began in the second round with an 8-2 win over third-seed Alejandro Centurion and Diego Marti-Vertiz of fellow SAA member Millsaps College. 30 minutes later, with inclement weather forcing the tournament inside onto a faced-paced indoor court, the Tigers faced Emerson Brundick and Davis Plummer, another hard-serving duo from Millsaps. Two critical late breaks of serve gave the Sewanee team the 8-4 win and catapulted them into the semifinals to face top-seeded Rafe Mosetick and Matthew Erdman of Emory.
Senior All-American Mosetick and Division I (Wake Forest) transfer Erdman quickly took advantage of freshman Gray's youthful nerves and rocketed to a 5-3 lead in the eight game pro-set. Roddy's experience and leadership skills proved the difference as the tandem relaxed and found their rhythm reeling off the final five games of the match for an 8-5 win. This set up the final against two Emory freshmen who were both part of national power Emory University's fourth-ranked 2015 recruiting class. Bouchet, from Oakton, Virginia and Jemison, an Atlanta native were both highly sought after four-star recruits that were ranked in the top-100 in the 2015 class. Bouchet and Jemison had cruised into the final with an 8-2 win over teammates Aman Manji and Alex Josepher in the semi-finals.
In the championship match both team repeatedly held serve until the match reached six-all. After a hard-fought game involving multiple game-points and game-saving winners the Eagles finally broke Roddy's serve to take a commanding 7-6 lead. Bouchet had the opportunity to serve out the match. The Tigers returned well under pressure and forced three break points before finally evening the match at 7-7. Checking his nerves at the door, freshman Gray served the biggest game of his young career in a game that lasted 10 minutes and featured over five deuces before veteran Roddy closed out the game with a drop-volley winner set up by a huge serve from his rookie teammate. With an 8-7 lead, all that separated the Tigers from the title was a break of serve against the powerful Jemison. Playing an aggressive style featuring multiple poaches and risky returns the Sewanee tandem broke Jemison at love to claim the elusive championship and vault them into the national event.
Roddy gave full credit to his teammate after the match, "Jack was all over the net in that match. His hands are so good he can volley from any angle and he gives us an opportunity to continually attack." Gray downplayed his role and pointed toward the calm leadership of his older teammate. "Eric told me to relax, but that is sometimes tough to do under pressure, so he just kept hitting huge serves and big returns that make my job at the net much easier."
Overall, the Tiger duo joined some oustanding past Sewanee student-athletes with ITA success. Mary Missbach (C, '00; HOF '10 individual; '14 team)) won the ITA regionals in 1998 and 1999 as a singles player; in 1998 she also won the doubles with Sara Cameron (C, '99; HOF '14 team). Cameron Tyer (C, '93; HOF '04 individual and team) also won the regional ITA in 1990, 1991,1992 in singles and doubles with teammate Becky Jo Doncaster in 1991 and 1992. Additionally, Tyer reached the National finals both years in doubles and in singles in 1992.
Also Gabriela Carvalho, reached the 2006 ITA National finals in singles and in doubles with partner Laura Fanjoy. Gray and Roddy join this elite group as coach Shackelford's first men's doubles team to reach the final eight.