ANDERSON, S.C. – Looking to put two early exits in the last two postseasons behind it, Anderson University men’s tennis opens the 2014 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament with its highest seed in the program’s history, as the fifth-seeded Trojans square off with fourth-seeded Queens on Wednesday. First serve from the Rock Hill Tennis Center is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Entering the tournament following a 5-1 setback at Queens on Sunday, the Trojans are 9-8 overall and 8-3 in conference play. With the 8-3 mark, AU tied for fourth with the Royals in the final SAC standings, as Queens won the tiebreaker due to the head-to-head result, giving the Royals the No. 4 seed.
With a win on Wednesday, the Trojans would complete their 16th consecutive season with double figure wins. Last season, Anderson finished with 10 wins, despite a semifinal setback to Lincoln Memorial, closing the year.
On Tuesday, No. 1 singles player Juan Carracedo was named SAC Freshman of the Year and SAC First Team singles after closing the season with a 7-4 record within the conference. Overall, Carracedo went 8-9 in singles, while the freshman and classmate Mateo Rivas posted a 6-3 doubles mark in the SAC playing No. 1. As a team, Carracedo and Rivas were selected to the All-SAC Second Team Doubles Squad.
Sophomore Tomas Passalacqua was picked to the All-SAC Honorable Mention singles list as he joined classmate Inaki Iriberry on the All-SAC Honorable Mention Doubles list. Passalacqua finished with six singles wins, splitting time at No. 2 and No. 3. At doubles, the sophomore team closed the regular season with a 10-6 overall record and a perfect 10-0 mark in the SAC.
Queens closed the 2013-14 season with a 12-5 overall record in its first season as members of the SAC. The Royals have won six of their last seven with their lone loss in the span coming against Tusculum, which finished as the league’s regular season runner-up. Despite its top-four finish in the league, Queens did not place a player on the All-SAC First Team Singles or Doubles Squads.
Per-Erik Soler, who is projected to play the No. 1 position on Wednesday for the Royals, finished the regular season with an 8-6 overall record and a 7-4 mark in the SAC. On Sunday, Soler defeated Carracedo in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 6-0, to help the Royals cruise to a 5-1 victory at Freedom Park. For his efforts this year, Soler was named to the All-SAC Second Team Singles list, while joining teammate Jules Athalis on the All-SAC Second Team Doubles Squad.
In doubles, the Soler and Athalis team posted a 6-5 overall record while finishing 5-4 in the conference. The tandem of Andre Bufume and Ole-Jacob Meum led the Royals in doubles with a team-high eight victories, including seven in the conference. The team is 7-3 in their last 10 matches.
Regular season champion Wingate, which closed the conference schedule with a perfect 11-0 record, looks to be the favorite in this year’s tournament. The Bulldogs and runner-up, Tusculum, earned the byes into the Thursday’s semifinal round and will await the winners in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. The Pioneers finished the 2014 regular season with a 9-2 mark in the league, tying with third-seeded Coker and earned the tiebreaker with its 8-1 win over the Cobras earlier this season.
Rounding out the quarterfinal round is sixth-seeded Newberry, which holds a 6-5 conference mark with a 9-11 overall record. The Wolves are on a losing skid, dropping five of their last six matches.