April 25, 2014
BEAUMONT - It's been a season to remember for Scott Shankles and his Lamar men's tennis team, but with a spot in the Southland Tournament championship match on the line, the Cardinals will be looking for even more success this weekend as they take on Nicholls on Saturday at Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center on the campus of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
The Cards, who will be the No. 3 seed in the tournament, just completed one of their most successful seasons in over a quarter-century. With a 13-12 record, LU has tied for the most wins since the 1987 season and has already recorded more Division I victories than any other team over that time. The season was highlighted by the first win over former conference powerhouse UT Arlington since 1986 and a first-ever win over UTSA.
It hasn't been as easy for the Cards in conference play, dropping four of six matches, but they will be entering the tournament with a bit of momentum after picking up a win at Incarnate Word last week, which featured the return of regular No. 1 singles player Michael Feucht, who missed much of the league season due to injury.
Feucht is one of three freshmen to record double-digit singles wins this season, going 10-8 and then combining with another freshman in Juuso Laitinen for an 11-3 doubles record. Laitinen, no slouch himself in singles, ended with a 12-12 record, and Nikita Lis rounds out the top half of the line-up with a 12-8 mark. All three have earned victories at the top two positions.
Both Laitinen and Lis were named to the All-Southland Second Team earlier this week.
Another freshman, however, has been the most successful as of late. Jeandre Hoogenboezem, who carries a 7-7 record on the year, has turned it on since the start of Southland season, compiling a 5-1 mark and earning the regular season individual crown for No. 5 singles.
and Carl-Philip Lindqvist
lead the veteran group for the Cards. The duo has combined for 15 singles wins this year.
Nicholls, the No. 2 seed, is 11-12 this year with a 4-2 conference mark. The Colonels were impressive in a 7-0 win over the Cards at Thompson Family Tennis Center earlier this season, but the scoreline may seem misleading. The two sides battled through a tight doubles round, and the Feucht-less Cards also saw two singles matches go to decisive third sets.
The Colonels enter the weekend on a four match losing streak, falling at Abilene Christian, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and No. 33 Alabama twice.
First serve on Saturday is scheduled for 10 a.m., and the winner will take on either New Orleans or TAMUCC.