By Zachary Bowers and Nick Porter
BUENA VISTA, Va. – The Southern Virginia University men's tennis team finished its third-straight winning season with the best record since joining the Capital Athletic Conference, 17-5. Freshman Paul Monson and sophomore Ben Spencer were named to the All-CAC Second Team Singles, becoming the first Knights in program history to earn the honor.
The fall portion of the team's season was extremely successful. The Knights went 7-0, coming out on top of five NCAA Division II opponents in the process. The pace continued in the spring as Southern Virginia won the first four matches in February and March before falling to eventual CAC runner-up Christopher Newport.
"I was very pleased with our season," said head coach Tom Snelson. "This is the strongest team I've coached since I began coaching and I was happy to see that we were able to compete with quality teams."
The difference for the Knights this season came from the caliber of players throughout the entire lineup. No. 1 Paul Monson had the most successful season of any No. 1 player since joining the CAC, ending with 16 singles wins.
This is the third straight year that the Knights have made it to the Capital Athletic Conference playoffs. Last year, the Knights fell 5-3 to York College of Pennsylvania but topped the Spartans 5-0 in a first-round rematch this season and advance to the semifinals.
"Despite the loss in the semifinals, I am looking forward to next year," commented Snelson. "Our team is young, so it was good to see the competition we will face next year as we progress."
Monson posted an 11-4 record at No. 1 singles and equally impressive 16-3 season at No. 2 doubles. The Provo, Utah native was named CAC Men's Tennis Player of the Week twice during the season on his way to the All-CAC second team.
For 14 of his 16 doubles wins, Monson was paired with fell All-CAC Second Team member Ben Spencer. Spencer finished 12-3 at No. 2 singles, and also had a pair of wins at No. 1. The sophomore from Springville, Utah earned a spot on the CAC Weekly Honor Roll twice during the season.
Monson and Spencer's three doubles losses came at the hands of CAC champion Mary Washington (twice), and Christopher Newport.