Tourney Time

 Chris Cox playing against Methodist University. Photo by Covenant Athletics.

Chris Cox playing against Methodist University. Photo by Covenant Athletics.

This past Friday and Saturday were a crucial two days for the Covenant tennis teams. The Scots came through with a strong showing that allowed them to punch their tickets to the conference tournament. Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams wrapped up their regular season schedules this weekend on the road in Virginia. The men’s team finished with a big win over Averett that clinched a conference tournament playoff berth for the team. The men’s squad completed the regular season with a 8-8 overall record and posted a 5-4 conference record which was good enough for sixth place in the USA South. The Scots outpaced external expectations as they were picked to finish only seventh in the coaches’ preseason poll. The sixth place finish means that the men’s team will have to face the number three seed Huntington in the first round of the conference tourney on Friday. Huntington is 7-2 this season and beat the Scots 8-1 earlier this year. The winner of this matchup will play the number two seeded Methodist in the second round.

The women’s team went 2-1 over the weekend, picking up wins over Averett and Mary Baldwin and dropping a tight one to Meredith. This weekend’s matches put the Scots at 16-6 overall and 9-3 in the USA South. The loss to Meredith meant that the Scots dropped into a tie with Meredith for fourth place in the conference. Unfortunately, that loss also gave Meredith the tiebreaker over the women’s squad. That puts the Scots in fifth place, however, their playoff matchup is unchanged. As the five seed, the women will get another chance against Meredith this weekend in the first round of the conference tournament. The winner will get the chance to play the undefeated top seed N.C. Wesleyan in the semi-finals.

Both programs continue to improve under third-year head coach John Hirte. Hirte’s all-time record as women’s coach now sits at 36-26. The team’s 16 wins this year tie a school record for wins set by last year’s squad, giving Covenant its first back-to-back double-digit season win-totals since 2010.The men’s team has also improved from last year, more than quadrupling its win-total in the Scot’s second year in the USA South.

Covenant looks to build off these gains this coming weekend at the conference tournament in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. The first round matchups start at 10:00 AM on Friday morning for the men and at 2:00 PM on Friday afternoon for the women. Follow live on Twitter: @CovenantScots and @CovenantTennis. Go Scots!