By: Darcy Waskiewicz, Staff Writer
Furman’s tennis teams soared through the first half of the spring season with winning streaks that began the first week of February and continued into March. The Paladins look to build off this energy as the Southern Conference and NCAA tournaments approach.
The Furman women’s tennis team lost once throughout the spring season: a grueling 4-3 loss to Louisville on Feb. 3. After that loss, the Paladins bounced back with a winning streak that extends to 12 matches and a record of 15-1. During this streak, the Paladins blanked the opposing teams six times, including three consecutive wins that followed the team’s first and only loss.
Despite the winning streak and the recent success, the Paladins are still looking for ways to improve. One area the Paladins plan to focus on as the season continues is consistency.
“We got recognized with the highest ranking we have ever had in program history earlier this week, and yesterday we didn’t play as well as we would like to against a conference opponent,” said Furman women’s head coach Adam Herendeen about the Paladins’ 6-1 win over UNCG on Mar. 13. “We still won, but we want to see them consistently playing at a high level every single day.”
Furman is ranked forty-third nationally in the Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division I Top 50 National Team Rankings of the week. Furman junior Katarina Kozarov is ranked fiftieth nationally in the most recent Oracle/ITA Women’s Top 125 National Singles Rankings, while freshman Madison Dillon is ranked one hundred and twenty-third in the nation.
The Furman men’s tennis team has also responded with a winning streak following losses in three straight matches in the early weeks of the spring season. Furman’s last loss dates back to Feb. 1, when the Paladins fell to Lipscomb in a 4-3 defeat. Since then, the Paladins have won seven consecutive matches and have a record of 8-3.
“We have a great culture of really good guys that have a lot of fun, and when we play matches, they’re playing for each other,” said Furman men’s head coach Kelly Jones about what has contributed to the Paladin’s success throughout the season.
During the win streak, the Paladins dominated in doubles competition, while Furman sophomore Ivan Mitric leads the team in singles competition. Mitric is ranked eighty-seventh in the nation in the most recent Oracle/ITA Men’s Top 125 National Singles Rankings.
The Paladins are not planning to slow down anytime soon. Instead, both tennis teams look to carry the momentum that has resulted from the recent success and winning streaks as the rest of the season progresses.