FLORENCE, SC – Both the Francis Marion University men’s and women’s tennis teams are ranked in the Top 10 of the fall 2008 Intercollegiate Tennis Association NCAA Division II Top 40 national polls released recently. The FMU men are ranked fifth, their highest ranking ever, and the women are ranked eighth.
Several Patriot players are also included in the singles and doubles rankings.
FMU head coach Garth Thompson welcomes back six lettermen on the men’s side. The Patriots posted a 19-6 record last spring, advanced to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in Houston, Texas, and ended the season ranked seventh nationally. The 19 victories equaled the team’s single-season record.
The Patriot women return four players from last year’s program-best 23-3 squad that ended the year ranked fifth and also advanced to the Division II Elite Eight. FMU’s only three losses were to the national champion (twice) and to the national runner-up (once).
Individually, sophomore Oshada Wijemanne (19-4 singles record in 2008) is ranked seventh among NCAA Division II men’s singles players.
On the women’s side, Patriot junior Tereza Sykorova (21-2) is ranked ninth nationally among Division II singles players. The doubles team of Sykorova and junior Valeska Ibscher is ranked eighth.
Thomson, entering his 17th season as head coach of both the Patriot programs, has amassed a 236-112 men’s record with 12 trips to the NCAA Tournament and a 197-144 women’s mark with eight NCAA national tournament appearances.
In the Southeast Region fall rankings, the Patriot men and women are ranked second and third respectively.
Both squads will open their 2009 season on Feb. 1 at Coker College.