FLORENCE, S.C. – The Francis Marion University men’s tennis team will play Lander University on Sunday (May 1) at 9 a.m. in a first-round match at the Southeast Regional of the 2011 NCAA Division II Tournament.
The match will be played at the Mary V. Blackmon Tennis Center on the Columbus State University campus in Columbus, Ga.
The 14th-ranked FMU men enter the regional with a 10-7 record, while Lander is ranked 11th with a 16-5 mark. The 13th-ranked Columbus State men (15-4) will play 15th-ranked Georgia College (13-9) in the other first-round match on Sunday at 1 p.m. The two winners will meet on Monday at 3 p.m. to decide the regional champion and who will advance to the national finals, May 11-14, in Altamonte Springs, Fla.
FMU dropped a 7-2 decision to Lander early in the season on Feb. 18. Lander holds the record for most NCAA Division II men’s tennis national championships at eight, all won consecutively from 1993 to 2000. Francis Marion and Lander have evenly split their last eight meetings, dating back to 2005.
This is the fourth consecutive trip to the NCAAs for the FMU men, and the 15th in the past 17 years. The Patriots are 13-14 all-time in NCAA tournament competition.
Francis Marion won a regional title in 2008, lost in the regional semifinals in 2009, and last year advanced to the regional title match.
The probable singles line-up for the Patriots will be: senior Oshada Wijemanne (10-4 season record) at No.1, sophomore Alex Caspari (11-4) at No.2, freshman Tim Ruepke (3-9) at No.3, junior Jack Bishop (8-9) at No.4, senior Karl Rogers (5-10) at No.5, and junior Tanguy Montoisy (5-3) at No.6. Wijemanne is the eighth-ranked singles player in Division II.
The doubles line-up will consist of Caspari and Rogers (10-6) at No.1, Wijemanne and Bishop (4-2) at No.2, and Ruepke and junior Dirk Bair (7-9) at No.3. Caspari and Rogers are ranked 18th nationally among Division II doubles duos.
Long-time FMU head coach Garth Thomson has directed the Patriot men to a 274-133 record in 19 seasons.
NCAA Division II Men’s Tennis
Southeast Regional #2 at Mary V. Blackmon Tennis Center in Columbus, Ga.
No. 2 Columbus State University (15-4) - Host Institution
No. 3 Lander University (16-5)
No. 6 Francis Marion University (10-7)
No. 7 Georgia College (13-9)
May 1, 2011
No. 3 Lander vs. No. 6 Francis Marion. 9:00 a.m.
No. 2 Columbus State vs. No. 7 Georgia College 1:00 p.m.
May 2, 2011
Winners of Sunday’s matches 3:00 p.m.