The Francis Marion University women's and men's tennis teams are ranked 10th and 20th respectively in the 2012-13 pre-season Intercollegiate Tennis Association NCAA Division II Top 50 national polls released this week. The two squads are also ranked third and sixth respectively in the Southeast regional rankings. Four Patriots also appear in the individual pre-season rankings.
Senior Alex Caspari is ranked 10th nationally among Division II men's singles players and third regionally, while senior Mona Blauen ranks 24th in the Division II women's national singles rankings and seventh in the regional rankings. The men's doubles pair of Caspari and sophomore Gavin Davison is 12th nationally in the Division II men's doubles rankings and fifth regionally, while Blauen and sophomore Julia Graf rank 17th nationally among women's double teams and fourth regionally.
The Patriot women return five letterwinners from last year's 18-4 squad that reached the semifinals of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament and advanced to the finals of the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional #2. Only two of the losses came during the regular season.
The Francis Marion men return six lettermen from last year's 10-7 team that reached the semifinals of the NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament.
Caspari posted a 14-2 singles record in 2012 and this fall he reached the semifinals of the USTA/ITA Southeast Regional Tournament. Last season, he was 6-2 against nationally ranked players.
Last spring, Blauen registered a near perfect 18-1 mark in singles play. In doubles competition, she compiled a 19-3 record with her then partner Jitka Gavdunova, including an 11-1 mark in Peach Belt Conference play.
Entering his 21st season at FMU, head coach Garth Thomson has directed the FMU women to a 263-166 record, while the men boast a 284-141 mark over that same time. The women have made six trips to the NCAAs in the past seven years, and 11 in the past 18 seasons, while the Patriot men have made five straight appearances and 16 in the past 18 seasons.