Both Patriot tennis teams earn national rankings

Both Patriot tennis teams earn national rankings

The Francis Marion University women's and men's tennis teams are ranked 24th and 31st respectively in the final 2014 Intercollegiate Tennis Association NCAA Division II Top 50 national polls released this week.  Three Patriot players were also included in the end-of-the-season singles and doubles rankings.

The Patriot women ended the season with a 15-7 record and made the program's eighth NCAA national tournament appearance in the past nine seasons.  The Patriots also advanced to the regional title match for the eighth time in that span.  Six of the team's losses were to nationally ranked opponents, including four to Top-5 squads.

Over the past seven seasons, the FMU women own a combined 127-36 mark, with 20 of the losses to opponents ranked in the Top 5.

Under the direction of 22nd-year head coach Garth Thomson, the FMU women appear in the end-of-the-season national poll for the ninth straight year and for the 16th time in the past 21 seasons.  Thomson has compiled a 301-177 career coaching record while directing the Patriot women.

Despite posting a 7-9 overall record, the Francis Marion men appear in the final national poll for the 19th straight year, and the 20th of the past 21 seasons.

Eight of the team's nine defeats were to nationally ranked opponents, including four ranked in the Top 10.

Thomson has amassed a 306-159 career coaching record at the helm of the Patriot men.

Individually, Patriot junior Julia Graf and sophomore Nora Westbye are ranked 18th nationally among Division II women's doubles duos after the pair posted a 15-7 mark in 2014.  Graf was ranked 12th in doubles at the conclusion of the 2013 season.

On the men's side, freshman Richard Ashforth (13-2) is ranked 23rd among Division II singles players.  Ashforth was earlier named the ITA Rookie of the Year for the Southeast Region as well as the Peach Belt Conference's Freshman of the Year.