The UNC Asheville men’s and women’s tennis teams completed their 2016 regular seasons over the weekend with mixed results. The women fell to the Charleston Southern Buccaneers Friday, 0-7, and the men defeated the Radford University Highlanders Saturday, 4-0.
“Good win for us today,” UNCA head coach Tom Hand said. “We now have to turn our attention toward the conference tournament next week.”
The men earned a No. 3 seed in the Big South Conference tournament and will face the Winthrop Eagles Thursday in Lynchburg, Virginia. The Bulldogs finished the regular season with five straight conference wins and a 6-2 conference record, 10-7 overall.
“There are plenty of teams capable of winning, and we are certainly among that group,” Hand said.
Daniel Kripak and Brett Landau, Bulldog seniors, secured points during singles play after the doubles teams scored two points in the first two matches. Josh Swindler, junior, and Henry Patten, freshman, combined their skills to win 6-3, and Alex Croker, senior, and Landau finished their match 6-4.
The Bulldog seniors, including Thomas Orestis-Panoulas, who was 9-4 overall, were honored April 2 during their final home match, a 5-2 win against the Liberty Flames.
“We managed to do enough to get the job done and send our graduating seniors out with a win,” Hand said.
The seniors benefit from the contributions of the potent doubles team of Patten and Swindler, 14-2 overall, as well as their individual play. Patten earned a 12-3 singles record and back-to-back Freshman of the Week honors from the Big South Conference. Swindler finished 10-5 in singles, 6-2 in conference.
“We are looking for a good performance from everyone leading into our conference tournament next week,” Hand said.
The women grabbed the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament and will face the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. The Bulldogs finished with a record of 8-9 overall and 4-5 in conference.
“I hope we can learn from it and be ready to go next week as we move into tournament play,” said Lise Gregory, UNCA women’s head coach.
The Bulldogs preferred playing at the Asheville Racquet Club, where they amassed six of their eight wins. The women’s conference tournament begins Friday, also at the courts of Liberty University in Lynchburg.
Hannah Francisco (8-6), Christin Louw (10-5), and Kylee Shipley (10-2), all UNCA freshmen, finished the regular season with winning records for singles play, as well as the doubles team of Francisco and Shipley (7-5). Senior Lauren Brooker completed her final season 9-7 in singles and 7-6 in combined doubles results.
“We’re doing a great job of getting all of the pieces together at the end of the season,” Gregory said. “We’ve had a few good wins, and we’re hoping to continue to improve as we finish out our season.”