FLORENCE, SC – The Francis Marion University women’s and men’s tennis teams are ranked 13th and 15th respectively in the final 2010 Intercollegiate Tennis Association NCAA Division II Top 50 national polls released recently. Several Patriot players were also included in the singles and doubles rankings.
The Patriot women ended the season with a 17-6 record. They lost in the semifinals of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament and advanced to the finals of the NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament. All six the losses were to teams ranked 11th or higher, including three losses to the nation’s No. 1-ranked team.
The Francis Marion men were 12-8 this past year and like the women’s squad, reached both the semifinals of the PBC Tournament and finals of the NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament. Seven of the team’s defeats were to squads that were nationally ranked, while the other loss was to a Division I opponent.
Over the past three seasons, the FMU women own a combined 60-14 mark, with 11 losses to opponents ranked in the Top 5.
Under the direction of 18th-year head coach Garth Thomson, the FMU women appear in the end-of-the-season national poll for the fifth straight year and for the 12th time in the past 17 seasons. Thomson has compiled a 234-155 career coaching record while directing the Patriot women.
The men’s program has appeared in the final national poll each of the past 15 years, and 16 of the past 17 seasons. Thomson has amassed a 264-126 career coaching record at the helm of the Patriot men.
Individually, Patriot senior Tereza Sykorova (16-4) ranked 10th nationally among Division II women’s singles players, while juniors Sabina Baberadova (18-2) and Jitka Gavdunova (17-4) ranked 35th and 37th respectively. This is the third consecutive year Sykorova has occupied a spot in the Top 15 at the conclusion of the season.
The doubles duo of Sykorova and Baberadova (20-3) ranked fourth nationally in Division II, up 10 positions from No. 14 at the end of the 2009 campaign. Gavdunova and freshman Mona Blauen (20-3) ended the year 17th.
On the men’s side, senior Dilshod Sharifi (15-1) ranked third in Division II singles and junior Oshada Wijemanne (11-4) ranked 18th.
The doubles pair of Sharifi and Wijemanne (10-7) finished 2010 ranked eighth nationally, the duo’s second straight Top 10 listing – 7th in 2009 and 17th in 2008.