Patriot Netters Open Season at Timrod Park, Jan. 31
FLORENCE, S.C. – The Francis Marion University men’s and women’s tennis teams will open their 2004 seasons by playing host to North Greenville College, Saturday, Jan. 31, at 2 p.m.
With the recent renovations to FMU’s Kassab Courts nearing completion, the non-conference match will be played at the Timrod Park courts in downtown Florence. The Florence Tennis Association and the Florence Parks & Leisure Services Department will serve as hosts for these season-opening matches. Both FMU squads will be introduced to the public at 1 p.m. and admission to the matches is free.
In the past, Patriot players have conducted clinics and exhibition matches for the local tennis association.
FMU head coach Garth Thomson welcomes back six letterwinners from last season’s 13-5 men’s team that made the program’s ninth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division II national tournament. However, with a roster that includes six newcomers, the Patriots are not ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Top 40 poll for the first time in nine years.
Senior Danny Cordrey (12-5 singles record) and sophomores Kevin Taylor (11-5), Alex Cury (8-4), and Igor Prielozny (6-1) head the list of returning players. Entering his 12th season at the helm of the Patriots, Thomson has recorded a 162-75 record (.684 winning percentage).
The Francis Marion women’s squad returns four letterwinners from last year’s 12-8 campaign. The team’s most valuable player for 2003, senior Lillian Jamieson (11-6 singles record); seniors Stephanie Bush (9-7) and Maria Cordrey (11-6); and sophomore Amy Verburg (8-6) join four freshmen on the 2004 roster.
The Patriot women own a 121-99 mark in Thomson’s 11 seasons, but the squad is looking to return to the NCAA tournament after a four-year absence that followed five straight appearances. The women were ranked 35th at the conclusion of the 2003 season, and all eight of the team’s losses were to nationally ranked opponents.
“Both of my recruiting classes are young, but talented,” said Thomson. “We have the nucleus for two quality squads, but we must wait until we enter PBC play to know how well the newcomers will fare.” According to the former FMU All-American turned Patriot head coach, two of the freshmen will play the No. 1 singles spot on the squads: Kamini Murugaboopathy of Chennai, India, on the women’s side and Chatwinder Singh of Chandigarh, India, for the men’s team. Singh was the No. 2-ranked juniors player in India.