CLINTON, S.C. – The Presbyterian College men’s tennis team captured the 2017 Big South Regular Season Championship with a 5-2 win over preseason conference favorite Winthrop on Monday afternoon at the Templeton Tennis Courts. The regular season title is PC’s second in the Big South with the other coming in 2014.
“I am so proud of my team for what they achieved,” said PC head coach Patrick Fediuk. “It’s their hard work and determination to win that allowed this to happen.”
The championship comes in the second season under Fediuk, who was an assistant coach under Adam Herendeen for the 2014 season that saw PC win its first championship. The men’s tennis team holds PC’s two Big South championships in any sport since moving to Division I.
“When I look back on this I will certainly be proud of the accomplishment but I’ll be even more proud of our resiliency,” Fediuk continued. “We are so resilient, we talk about it and stress it all the time and then we went out and lived it today. Saturday was a tough loss but we bounced back and played unbelievably well today. We will take 48 hours to enjoy it and then get ready for a good NJIT team on Friday and a good run in the conference tournament next week.”
The Blue Hose opened the match by taking two of three doubles matches to clinch the point for the sixth time in seven conference matches. Diego Manzanas and Jaime Castillo-Lopez got it started with a 6-1 win on court three, before the Eagles evened it at 1-1 with a 6-2 win on court one. Brandon Mills and Alexander Lykou clinched the point with a close 7-5 victory on court two to give PC a 1-0 advantage.
Singles turned decisively in PC’s favor from the outset. Manzanas closed out the first match with a 6-2, 6-2 victory on court three to pick up his sixth Big South win in seven matches and make it a 2-0 PC lead. Lykou then made it 3-0 PC with a 6-1, 6-3 victory on court one to put PC one win away from clinching the match and the conference title.
It would be senior Ben Kelley that clinched the victory for PC, winning 6-2, 6-1 at No. 4 to record his 18th singles win of the season and finish Big South play unbeaten at 7-0. Kelley is just the fifth player in PC’s Division I history to reach seven singles wins in Big South matches. From there, Castillo-Lopez took court five, 6-2, 6-4, to make it a 5-0 PC lead. The Eagles would salvage the final two matches of the day on courts two and six for the final of 5-2.
With the win, PC improved to 14-10 overall and finished conference play with a 6-1 record. Since 2014, PC has 23 Big South regular season wins, more than any other league member, and is the only current member to win a regular season title. Former member Coastal Carolina had claimed each of the last two regular season titles after PC won in 2014.
The Blue Hose wrap up the regular season on Friday with its Senior Day match against NJIT at 1 p.m. at the Templeton Tennis Courts.
PC will then be the top seed in the Big South Championships, which are set to begin on Wednesday, April 19 in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Blue Hose finished as the league’s runner-up a year ago.