May 30, 2013

Both Patriot tennis teams earn Top 20 rankings

The Francis Marion University women's and men's tennis teams are ranked 13th and 18th respectively in the final 2013 Intercollegiate Tennis Association NCAA Division II Top 50 national polls released recently.  FMU is one of 15 schools nationwide to have both its tennis programs ranked in the final Top 25.  Several Patriot players were also included in the end-of-the-season singles and doubles rankings.

The Patriot women ended the season with a 23-4 record – equaling the program record for victories in a season – and made the program's seventh NCAA national tournament appearance in the past eight seasons.  The Patriots advanced to the regional title match for the seventh time in that span.  All four losses were to opponents that ended the year ranked sixth or higher, including one to the eventual national champions.

Over the past six seasons, the FMU women own a combined 112-29 mark, with 16 of the losses to opponents ranked in the Top 5.

Under the direction of 21st-year head coach Garth Thomson, the FMU women appear in the end-of-the-season national poll for the eighth straight year and for the 15th time in the past 20 seasons.  Thomson has compiled a 286-170 career coaching record while directing the Patriot women.

The Francis Marion men were 15-9 this past year and earned the program's sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament invitation, and its 17th bid in the past 19 seasons.  Eight of the team's nine defeats were to opponents that ended the year ranked in the Top 25.

The men's program has appeared in the final national poll each of the past 18 years, and 19 of the past 20 seasons.  Thomson has amassed a 299-150 career coaching record at the helm of the Patriot men.

Individually, Patriot senior Mona Blauen (17-5) is ranked 19th nationally among Division II women's singles players, while Blauen and sophomore Julia Graf are 12th in the national doubles rankings with a 21-5 mark.  Blauen was listed 22nd at the conclusion of her junior year and 43rd in the final 2011 ratings. She concluded her career at FMU with a 65-12 singles record. 

On the men's side, senior Alex Caspari (16-6) is ranked 26th among Division II singles players, while the doubles pair of Caspari and sophomore Gavin Davison (14-8) finished 2013 ranked 12th nationally.  Caspari was listed 14th among singles players in 2012 and he and Davison were eighth among 2012 doubles duos.  Caspari was also 13th in the final 2011 doubles rankings.  His career doubles mark of 54-31 ties him for fifth all-time in wins.