Men’s and Women’s Tennis Look Forward to Successful Spring

Sam Thomas-

Wildcat tennis is back in action and the ‘Cats have gotten their spring season off and running. The women have started at a blistering rate with a 3-2 start. Their two losses have come against the nation’s fifth-ranked team in UNC and in a nail-biting fashion against a strong Winthrop team. Otherwise, the team has netted three wins, including two wins by a 7-0 mark against Gardner-Webb and UNC Asheville. The other win being a 4-3 mark against Presbyterian.

Though the start is one game behind the pace that the ‘Cats set for themselves a year ago, they still seem poised to make a run in the Atlantic 10 tournament this spring and even better the mark from last year’s quarterfinal appearance. This is especially possible due to the number of home matches the Wildcats have scheduled this year, thanks in large part to the top-notch facilities in the Knobloch Tennis Center, both indoors and outdoors. The ‘Cats can use this to build momentum going into the conference and championship portions of their schedule.

A big key for them has been the leadership up front in Anna Catharine Feaster. Having competed as both the No.1 in singles and doubles this spring, with partner Samantha Armas, the senior from Knoxville, TN, has emerged as one of the main components in the team’s success. Another singles player that is finding lots of success early is sophomore Alexa Abele, whose only loss this year so far has been against UNC. Abele has moved back and forth between the No. 2 and No. 3 positions in singles.

This season, Anna Catharine Feaster ’18 has put together several solid matches in a row and the women’s team looks to use that momentum in the latter portion of the season. Photo courtesy of Davidson Athletics

The ‘Cats look to continue their early season success into the rest of the season. You can catch the women’s tennis team back in action at the Knobloch Tennis Center this weekend, as they matchup against UNC Wilmington on Sunday. As the season gets further underway, key matchups will include the beginning of conference play against Duquesne on March 5th, hosted by one of the USTA sites in Florida, and when the ‘Cats host Saint Louis on March 22nd, which will take place at the Knobloch Tennis Center here at Davidson. Saint Louis had Davidson’s number last year, beating them both during the regular season and in the A-10 tournament, but the ‘Cats are looking to avenge those losses this year.

On the men’s side, the Wildcats find themselves on the return from an away trip to Chicago where they split the weekend 1-1 against UIC and DePaul. This brings their overall record on the spring season to 3-3.

Though the start may seem as though it is on the slower side, especially compared to last season’s 5-1 start, the ‘Cats have had a much stronger strength of schedule with matchups against South Carolina, who was ranked 20th in the country, and DePaul, who is currently off to a blazing 7-3 start with victories over multiple Power 5 conference opponents. This tough early schedule will prime the ‘Cats for the conference and championship portions of the schedule in the latter half of the season.

Senior Artem Khrapko highlighted the preseason headlines for the ‘Cats team with a preseason national ITA ranking of 120th in singles in the NCAA. Khrapko has consistently been the No. 1 for the Wildcats in both singles and doubles, where he has been partnered with sophomore Axel Fries. This senior leadership will prove to be of the utmost importance as the team carries on throughout the season. Khrapko will look to help the ‘Cats improve upon their quarterfinal appearance from a season ago.

The men’s tennis team looks to lean on the leadership of Artem Khrapko ’18 as their season starts to come into full force. Photo courtesy of Davidson Athletics

The ‘Cats are back in action this weekend as they return home after their road trip. On Saturday, they look to get back on track after their loss at DePaul as they host Wingate at 9 AM and Radford at 2 PM. Other big matchups for the Davidson men will be when they travel to Virginia Tech on Saturday, February 25th and when they face off against the Midshipmen of Navy at the Knobloch Tennis Center on March 13th. The men’s team, like the women’s team, will open A-10 play against Duquesne on March 5th in Lakeland, Florida.