FLORENCE, SC – The Francis Marion University men's tennis team captured marathon 9-7 wins at the No.1 and No.2 doubles positions and used those wins to springboard to a 7-2 Peach Belt Conference victory over 14th-ranked Georgia College, Friday afternoon (April 14). The 37th-ranked Patriot women won five of six singles decisions to rally for a 6-3 win over the 31st-ranked Georgia College women.
The FMU men end the regular season at 7-9 and must await later conference matches to see if they will qualify for next week's Peach Belt Tournament. Francis Marion will host the PBC Men's and Women's Tennis Tournaments at the Dr. Eddie Floyd/Florence Tennis Center, Friday through Sunday, April 21-23.
The Francis Marion women improve to 12-7 overall and move into sole possession of fifth place in the PBC standings with an 8-4 mark. The Patriots would finish in a tie for fourth place if the University of North Georgia loses to Armstrong State University on Saturday. Friday's win was also key because Georgia College was ranked one spot ahead of FMU in the latest NCAA Southeast region poll.
Prior to Friday's action, Francis Marion honored the three seniors on the men's squad and two from the women's team.
FMU took a quick 1-0 lead in the men's match as seniors Jannik Roettlingsberger and Raul Madrid lost the first game but rattled off eight straight wins to earn the No.3 doubles point. Senior Richard Ashforth and sophomore Tarass Thevenaz held off a late Bobcat rally to win 9-7 at the No.1 position. It was Ashforth's 46th career doubles win, 11th-best in program history.
At No.2 doubles, freshmen Matheo Espinoza and Henri Broeseler had numerous match points, but finally a service ace from Espinoza finished out a 9-7 victory that took nearly an hour-and-a-half to complete.
Espinoza then led 6-0, 1-0 at No.3 singles when his opponent defaulted and Ashforth, ranked 24th nationally in singles, claimed the deciding point with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 decision over 36th-ranked Christian Graff at the No.1 position. Ashforth extended his career mark to 54-17, tying Dilshod Sharifi for seventh place on the Patriot career wins list.
Madrid (No.5) and Broeseler (No.6) both won their singles matches in tiebreakers.
Francis Marion also jumped out to an early 1-0 advantage in the women's contest when senior Samantha Koelliker and sophomore Marie Krueger earned an 8-1 victory at the top spot. For Koelliker, it was her 67th career win (in 87 decisions) and moved her into a tie with Tereza Sykorova for third place on the Patriot all-time list.
However, the Bobcats won the No.2 and No.3 doubles matches to go ahead 2-1.
Krueger (No.3), senior Eva Lieben (No.2), and Koelliker (No.1) registered straight-sets singles wins to give Francis Marion a 4-2 lead. Koelliker, ranked 25th among Division II singles players, upped her career mark to 62-21 in her final appearance on the Kassab Courts. She is fourth on the career singles wins list.
Junior Sofia Henning recorded the clinching point with a 6-2, 6-4 victory at the No.4 position, before sophomore Anna Wintrich added an insurance point at No.5 when she won in a tiebreaker after splitting the first two sets.
Match Notes: Georgia College 11-8 , 7-4 PBC; National ranking #31; Regional ranking #4 Francis Marion University 12-7 , 8-4 PBC; National ranking #37; Regional ranking #7 Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (3,2,1,4,6,5) A-125
Men's Tennis Match Results Apr 14, 2017 at Florence, SC (Kassab Courts) Francis Marion University 7, #14 Georgia College 2 Singles competition 1. #24 Richard Ashforth (FMU) def. #36 Christian Graff (GC-M) 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 2. Pedro Ecenarro (GC-M) def. J. Roettlingsberger (FMU) 7-5, 6-0 3. Anton Waern (GC-M) def. Tarass Thevenaz (FMU) 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 4. Matheo Espinoza (FMU) def. Mattia Campus (GC-M) 6-0, 1-0, default 5. Raul Madrid (FMU) def. Kyle Kinsler (GC-M) 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 11-9 6. Henri Broeseler (FMU) def. Nathan Connelly (GC-M) 4-6, 6-1, 10-4 Doubles competition 1. Richard Ashforth/Tarass Thevenaz (FMU) def. Christian Graff/Kyle Kinsler (GC-M) 9-7 2. Matheo Espinoza/Henri Broeseler (FMU) def. Pedro Ecenarro/Mattia Campus (GC-M) 9-7 3. Raul Madrid/J. Roettlingsberger (FMU) def. Anton Waern/Nathan Connelly (GC-M) 8-1
Match Notes: Georgia College 9-9 , 3-6 PBC; National ranking #14; Regional ranking #5 Francis Marion University 7-9 , 3-7 PBC Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (4,1,2,3,5,6) A-125