FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University men’s and women’s tennis coach Garth Thomson has announced the addition of two men’s and two women’s players for the 2011-12 season. The newcomers are Luke Bateup of Beckenham, England, and Gavin Davison of Bingley, England, on the men’s side, while Julia Graf of Aerzen, Germany, and Sofia Pacifico of Canada de Gomez, Argentina, will be joining the Patriot women.
Bateup, 5-9, is a product of the Langley Park School for Boys. Davison, 5-10, is a graduate of the Hanson School. He attended Armstrong Atlantic State University during the 2010-11 year, but did not play and will have four years of eligibility at FMU.
Davison is a former quarterfinalist at England’s U18 national championships, and was once ranked second at the U16 level.
“We have secured two of the Top 10 junior players from England,” said Thomson. “These are two very good singles players, and a pair that we can build around in the future as we look to continue our run of NCAA Tournament appearances.”
Graf, 5-5, is a product of Viktoria-Luise-Gymnasium-Hameln, while Pacifico, 5-2, is a graduate of Instituto de Edu. De Sovenes y Adultos No. 001.
Pacifico played one season at Brescia University in Owensboro, Ken., where she earned KIAC Player of the Year honors as a freshman with a 20-1 singles mark. She will have three years of eligibility at Francis Marion.
“We have added two quality players to our women’s roster that lost no seniors from last year when it was nationally ranked and just missed earning an NCAA Tournament bid,” Thomson said. “These young ladies will both play in our top four and will vastly increase our depth and hopefully help us return to the NCAAs.
“I am greatly excited about all four players, and feel as though they will give both squads a chance to challenge for the Peach Belt Conference title and national tournament berths.”
The Francis Marion men posted a 10-8 mark this past year, earned the program’s 15th NCAA Tournament invitation in the past 17 seasons, and ended the season ranked 17th nationally. The young Patriot women’s squad concluded its season with an 11-7 record and were ranked 30th in the final national poll.