Patriots fall to Pirates in Peach Belt tennis battle

Florence, SC - From Francis Marion University

FLORENCE, SC – Francis Marion University trailed by only a 2-1 count after doubles play, but the top-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University men's and women's tennis teams swept all the singles matches to claim a pair of 8-1 victories, Monday afternoon (April 12) in Peach Belt Conference tennis action.

The 13th-ranked Francis Marion women fall to 14-4 overall and 9-3 in the Peach Belt, while the 13th-ranked Patriot men drop to 9-6 and 5-4.

The AASU women improve to 24-0 and 12-0 and win their 74th consecutive Peach Belt contest dating back to 2003. The Pirate men are 24-1 and 9-0, but for the first time this season do not beat a PBC opponent by a 9-0 count.  AASU rebounded from a Saturday loss at Valdosta State University that ended the team's 46-match winning streak.

In the men's match, the two squads traded doubles wins at positions No.2 and 3.  In a match-up of Top-6 duos at the No.1 position, FMU's Oshada Wijemanne and Dilshod Sharifi, ranked sixth, rallied from a 7-4 deficit to within 7-6, but could not even the match with AASU's top-ranked team of Rafael Array and Mikk Irdoja.

At No.1 singles, FMU's Sharifi suffered his first loss of the season as the nation's No. 1 singles player lost to the sixth-ranked Irdoja 7-5 and 6-3.

In the women's match, FMU captured a win at the No.2 position, but AASU claimed easy wins at the No.1 and 3 spots.

Both FMU squads will celebrate Senior Day on Wednesday when the Patriots entertain Anderson University at 4 p.m. on the Kassab Courts.