Frequently Asked Questions
About the Boys' Tennis Dual Match Format

What is the NEITA default format?
The NEITA recommends that member schools use the 7-point college match format for all team play. This format has been approved for use by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. It is the default format for all dual matches between NEPSAC District IV (Connecticut and western Massachusetts) schools, as well as schools in the Founders League. Increasing numbers of schools in eastern New England have adopted this playing format as well. It is also the format used in the New England Team Championships. It works as follows:

Play begins with three doubles matches, each played as eight-game pro-sets. Advantage scoring is employed. A twelve-point (first to 7 by a margin of two) tiebreak is played should the score reach 8-all. If a school wins the first two doubles matches completed, the third pro-set may be abandoned if it is not obviously near its conclusion.

Immediately following the completion of the doubles, the six singles matches are contested as best-of-three-sets matches using advantage scoring. A twelve-point (first to 7 by a margin of two) tiebreak is played should the score in any set reach 6-all.

Team Scoring
The three doubles pro-sets are collectively worth one point, so a school winning at least two of the doubles pro-sets gets the point. The six singles matches are each worth one point. Once a school wins four points, the remaining matches MAY be abbreviated or abandoned by mutual consent.

On average, this format takes less time than the traditional 6-3 college format most schools in New England used to use. Coaches have leeway in abbreviating or abandoning matches once the team result is determined, but there should be clear communication about this, for it is based on the principle of mutual consent. The NEITA encourages coaches to bring matches to a completion--even in abbreviated form--whenever possible.

How are team positions for matches determined?
From rule K.3 of the ITA Rules: "The line-up shall always be based on order of ability. 'Matching up' is prohibited. In singles, players must compete in order of ability with the best player on the team playing at the No.1 position, the second best at No.2, and so on through all positions. In case of injury or sickness, all players must move up. This rule shall also apply to doubles play with the strongest doubles team at No.1, etc.

a. A player who has established a winning record at a team position in six team matches and whose . . . results show that he clearly is stronger than the players below him may not be moved down.

b. If a top-six player (or team) is clearly stronger than the player immediately above him, then the player must be moved up a position.

c. Players of equal ability and equal record may alternate between two adjacent positions so long as the alternating is not done for the purpose of 'matching up.'

d. A player shall not be moved down in the line-up because of:

i. An injury which has lasted less than three weeks;

ii. Disciplinary measures

e. When team matches are played at an altitude of 3,500 feet or above, the line-up may be changed to preserve the true order of ability at high altitude."

Can a singles player be removed from the line-up and a substitute added?
From Rule K.5 of the ITA Rules: "Before the start of an individual team match, the coach may remove any player from his singles line-up. All players shall then move up a spot. If individual matches have begun, and this prevents players from moving up, then the withdrawn player forfeits that match.

When is coaching allowed?
Rule J.1 of the ITA Rules specify: "A coach may coach a player any time during the match so long as he does not interfere with play."

What is the difference between abbreviating and abandoning an individual match?
Once the team result is determined, coaches may wish to bring remaining singles matches to an earlier conclusion, especially given travel considerations, weather or light conditions, or the lateness of the hour. There are two ways to do so: coaches may agree to abbreviate a match, perhaps by converting a remaining or in-progress match to a pro-set or by having the players play a tiebreak in lieu of the third set should they split the first two sets. Any approach to abbreviating a match is fine as long as it is mutually agreed upon. Once finished, abbreviated matches are considered complete and are counted in the team scoring. Any matches in which play is stopped before there is a final outcome (or in which play never begins) are considered abandoned and are not counted in team scoring.

What happens if a match is interrupted (e.g., by inclement weather) and resumed another day?
The two teams resume all matches in progress at the point of interruption on the same courts. (When play stops, coaches should note score, end of court, etc.) A team may not change its line-up of players on court when play resumes. If a player who was on court is unavailable for the rescheduled competition, that match is forfeited. If singles play had not begun when play was stopped, however, the singles line-up may be altered.

Does the team score matter in consideration for playoff berths in the Team Championships?
No. Because schools in New England still are playing different dual match formats, the computerized ranking system we are employing--based on the Western New England soccer model--only factors in wins and losses (and ties), not match scores. (The formula considers overall win-loss record, win-loss record within the class, and strength of schedule.)

Are results from abbreviated or abandoned individual matches considered in awarding NEPSITT berths?
Yes. Invitations to the NEPSITT are necessarily more subjective, so the Committee looks at all available data, with an eye to the overall quality of a playing record. It is unlikely, however, that an anomalous performance in an abbreviated match would be held against a player. In the case of abandoned matches, the Committee will recognize the significant difference between a lead of a set and 4-0 and a match called off at 3-all in the first.

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Last revised: May 14, 2014