Winthrop’s tennis teams have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success on the courts this season, with both the men’s and women’s clubs finishing undefeated in Big South play and capturing regular-season league crowns. The significance of this accomplishment is not lost on the teams’ leaders.
“It is amazing that both the men and women finished undefeated in the conference in the same year,” said women’s coach Cid Carvalho. “I’m so proud of what our players have already accomplished this season.”
Carvalho’s women’s team won all eight of its conference outings en route to its league title, with sophomore Alisa Soloveva (17-2) sporting the best singles winning percentage in the Big South going into Sunday’s regular-season final at NC State. Junior Lauren Proctor (16-2) also enjoyed a dominant singles season, cracking the national rankings. Proctor joined junior Megan Kauffman to form a doubles team that had won all 18 of its matches going into Sunday’s finale.
“Lauren is the highest ranked player we have ever had at Winthrop. She has won the Carolina Regionals and been ranked as high as #14 in the nation. Megan and [Lauren] have been ranked in doubles as high as #50 in the nation. Alisa is having a tremendous year,” stated Carvalho. “Everyone is competing very well and winning close matches. Our team has been ranked as high as #60 and is now #67 in the latest ITA D1 National Rankings.”
The men’s side emerged victorious in each of its seven conference starts, taking home the best league record in seven seasons. Sophomore Gabriel Dias and senior Josh Ryan won 10 of their 11 doubles matches, which gave them the best record in the Big South.
“Gabriel is a great player and he has learned so much from last season. That added experience has helped him in so many challenging situations this season. Gabriel and Josh both get along so well on the court together because they are both fierce competitors,” stated men’s coach John Collins. “Josh also brings a lot of experience to their doubles because he has been a four-year starter for us in doubles and he helped us win the 2015 Big South Tournament. Josh and [graduate student] Tremayne [Mitchell] are both leaders for us on and off the courts, and they consistently go out of their way to help their teammates in practice and in our matches.”
Mitchell won six of his seven league matches and 11 of his last 12 overall, finishing the season 14-4.
“I am so proud of my guys. They have been 100 percent committed this season and it is incredible to watch them consistently compete at a high level. There has been a tremendous amount of hard work involved, but the satisfaction of being the toughest team in our conference is worth it every single time. We are looking forward to refocusing our efforts on the conference tournament next week,” said Collins.
Both teams are preparing for the league tournament, to be played at the Rock Hill Tennis Center April 16-21. The men open Monday at 8:00am against eighth-seeded Radford, while the women await their tournament assignment. The teams have combined to win 11 of 14 matches contested in Rock Hill this season.
“We are very excited to host the conference tournament,” added Collins. “We understand that the postseason is a completely new season, and we know that we need to work for every point. Hosting the conference tournament is always a huge privilege, and we are excited to compete at home and in front of our home crowd.”
Women’s golf takes second
Winthrop’s women’s golf team finished Saturday as the runners-up to Campbell in the Big South tournament, contested at The Patriot at Grand Harbor in Ninety-Six, S.C. The result was the Eagles’ first second-place finish in the tourney in nearly 20 years, with the women posting their third-lowest final score in program history at 914. Junior Julie Reinertsen finished third at plus-three, earning a spot on the All-Championship Team with a final-round 73.