FLORENCE, SC – The Francis Marion University women’s and men’s tennis teams are ranked fifth and 18th respectively in the final 2009 Intercollegiate Tennis Association NCAA Division II Top 40 national polls released recently. Several Patriot players were also included in the singles and doubles rankings.
The Patriot women’s No.5 listing equals the program’s highest ranking ever – also achieved last year. This past season, Francis Marion recorded a 20-5 mark that included a second-straight appearance in the NCAA Division II’s round of Sweet 16.
FMU finished third during the Peach Belt Conference’s regular season, lost in the PBC Tournament title match, and then earned the program’s ninth NCAA Tournament invitation in the past 15 years – where the Patriots captured their second straight Southeast Regional title.
Over the past two seasons, Francis Marion is a combined 43-8, with seven losses to opponents ranked in the Top 5 and the other loss was to an NCAA Division I opponent.
Under the direction of 17th-year head coach Garth Thomson, the FMU women appear in the end-of-the-season national poll for the fourth straight year and for the 10th time in the past 14 seasons. Thomson has compiled a 217-149 career coaching record while directing the Patriot women.
The FMU men were 16-6 in 2009 and earned their 13th national tournament invitation in the past 15 years.
The men’s program has appeared in the final national poll each of the past 14 years, and 15 of the past 16 seasons. Thomson has amassed a 252-118 career coaching record at the helm of the Patriot men.
Individually, Patriot junior Tereza Sykorova (17-6) ranked 13th nationally among Division II women’s singles players, while sophomores Kristyna Horakova (17-4) and Jitka Gavdunova (21-1) are 25th and 28th respectively. Sykorova was ranked 10th at the conclusion of the 2008 season.
The doubles duo of Horakova and Gavdunova (20-2) ranked third nationally in Division II, while Sykorova and sophomore Sabina Baberadova (16-2) are listed at the No. 14 position.
On the men’s side, sophomore Oshada Wijemanne (15-2) is ranked ninth in Division II singles and sophomore Dilshod Sharifi (17-2) is ranked 18th. Wijemanne was ranked 36th following his freshman campaign.
The doubles pair of Wijemanne and Sharifi (16-3) is ranked seventh nationally, up from 17th at the end of the 2008 season.