FLORENCE, S.C. – The NCAA Division II National Tournaments for men’s and women’s tennis will begin on Thursday (May 7) with Francis Marion University playing host to a women’s Southeast Regional and the Patriot men traveling to Savannah, Ga., for their opening-round match.
The seventh-ranked Patriot women (18-4) will host one of two five-team, three-day Southeast Regional Tournaments beginning on Thursday afternoon. Thirty-sixth-ranked Erskine College (16-7) will play Mount Olive College (12-10) in the opening match on Thursday at 2 p.m. on FMU’s Kassab Courts. FMU will meet the winner of Thursday’s match on Friday (May 8) at 10 a.m. Friday afternoon, eighth-ranked Columbus State University (20-3) will play 29th-ranked Georgia College & State University (9-10) at 2 p.m. Friday’s two winners will meet in the regional title contest on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Admission to the tournament is free,
All-Conference singles player Tereza Sykorova plays the No. 1 singles position for Francis Marion. She owns a 16-5 record and is ranked 18th nationally. First-year Patriot players Kristyna Horakova and Jitka Gavdunova also gained All-Conference recognition after posting a 18-1 record, and they are currently ranked sixth in Division II.
This year’s 64-team women’s field consists of 16 regional sites. Armstrong Atlantic State University will host the other Southeast Regional. Each of the 16 regional winners will advance to the national finals, May 13-16, in Altamonte Springs, Fla.
The 17th-ranked Francis Marion men (15-5) will play an opening-round match on Thursday in the men’s Southeast Regional, also hosted by AASU. The Patriots will battle Mars Hill College (13-5) at 2 p.m. at the AASU Tennis Complex. A win would move the Patriots into the second round on Friday at 2 p.m. against ninth-ranked USC Aiken (18-4). The men’s regional championship match is set for Saturday at 2 p.m.
Despite being in neighboring conferences, this will be only the second-ever meeting between FMU and Mars Hill. The Patriots captured a 5-2 win on March 10, 1994. Former FMU men’s basketball player David Riggins is the athletic director at Mars Hill.
The 64-team men’s field also consists of 16 regional sites. GCSU will host the second men’s Southeast Regional. As with the women, each regional winner will advance to the national finals, May 13-16, in Altamonte Springs, Fla.
All-Conference performers Oshada Wijemanne and Dilshod Sharifi occupy the top two positions in the Patriot lineup. Wijemanne is ranked 10th nationally in singles play with a 14-2 mark, while Sharifi is ranked 22nd with a 17-2 record. The two have combined for a 14-3 doubles record and are ranked sixth in Division II.
This is the fourth consecutive trip to the NCAAs for the FMU women, and the ninth in the past 15 years. They have an all-time record of 7-8 in NCAA Tournament play. The Patriot men earn an invitation for the second year in a row and the 13th time in the past 15 seasons. FMU is 11-12 in its 12 previous trips.
This will be the second time Francis Marion has hosted an NCAA women’s tennis regional. The men served as a host in 2000.
Last year, both Francis Marion teams won their respective regionals and advanced to the national championships in Houston, Texas, where both squads made the Elite Eight.
2009 NCAA II Women's Tennis Southeast Regional
May 7-9, 2009, at Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C. (Kassab Courts)
Thursday May 7
2 pm #36 Erskine College (16-7) vs. Mount Olive College (12-10)
Friday, May 8 (Regional Semifinals)
10 am #7 Francis Marion University (18-4) vs. Erskine/Mount Olive winner
2 pm #29 Georgia College & State Univ. (9-10) vs. #8 Columbus State University (20-3)
Saturday May 9 (Regional Finals)
1 pm Semifinal 1 winner vs Semifinal 2 winner
2009 NCAA II Men's Tennis Southeast Regional
May 7-9, 2009, at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga. (AASU Tennis Complex)
Thursday, May 7
2 pm #17 Francis Marion University (15-5) vs. Mars Hill College (13-5)
5 pm #24 Augusta State University (10-10) vs. #18 Lander University (8-8)
Friday, May 8
2 pm #9 USC Aiken (18-4) vs. Francis Marion/Mars Hill winner
5:30 pm #1 Armstrong Atlantic State University (24-1) vs. Augusta State/Lander winner
Saturday, May 9
2 pm Regional Championship Match