After a successful regular season that was capped by a 16-5 overall record and an eight-match winning streak, the North Greenville University men’s tennis is currently preparing for the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association’s National Tournament May 8-12 in Mobile, Alabama.
Since the year 2000, the NGU men have won five NCCAA national titles, and Coach Mark Elliot says that the Crusaders have the ability to win it once again. “We’re one of four teams that have a chance to win it,” he stated. “We’ve been ranked in the top 10 of the NCCAA all season and if we work hard the next few weeks, we should be in the mix in Alabama.”
NGU owns wins over future Conference Carolinas foes Mt. Olive (#2 in CC this year), King College, and Erskine, and also a victory over Newberry and SAC finalist Lincoln Memorial. “I can’t tell you the last time Luis Campos lost a tennis match” Elliot added. “Timor Kamilov, Fred Viera, Hugo Ciarrocchi, and Kesha Sedov have also had a great year.”
“Our guys are practicing hard right now and we’re looking to win it,” Elliot added. “We are not going to drive all the way down there just to play. We are a little banged up right now, but that’s the price you play when you play a tough schedule. We’ve got a little time to heal up.
The NGU women’s team, which Elliot calls ‘the best team I’ve coached,’ was not invited to participate in the NCCAA National Tournament. The Crusaders were 11-9 on the year and played a highly competitive schedule against Conference Carolinas teams and SAC programs. “I am disappointed the women didn’t get to the NCCAA’s,” Elliot noted. “This team is deserving of a chance to compete in the post-season. I mixed the schedule this year to allow them to play the best teams in our area.
The women defeated Catawba College of the SAC 5-4 and also had a key wins over King, Newberry, Emmanuel and Shaw University. Top players for the women include Salem Erni, Sarah Stanga, Katherine Shaw, Cassie Curtis, Victoria Gomez, Susane Lenz, Allison Martin and Natalie Stewart.