By Matt Green
ROME – After layoffs that have spanned well over a week, the Shorter University men and women’s tennis teams return to action this Friday and Saturday, March 1 and 2, as they return to Gulf South Conference play on the road against Christian Brothers and Delta State.
The Hawks (3-3, 0-1 GSC), who haven’t played since Feb. 14, and the Lady Hawks (4-3, 1-0), who last took to the courts on Feb. 20, travel to Christian Brothers in Memphis, Tenn., for a 2 pm match on Friday before heading south to Cleveland, Miss., on Saturday for a 10 am tilt with Delta State.
Both Shorter squads are looking to bounce back from losses in their previous outings, and hope to do so against new GSC rivals.
The Hawks dropped a 5-4 decision to West Alabama, ranked No. 39 by ITA, in Livingston back on Valentine’s Day, but have several players playing well heading into this weekend’s conference action.
No. 1 singles player Romain Lefevre enters Friday’s match with a 4-2 singles record and riding a two match winning streak with victories at the top singles position in Shorter’s last two outings against Tuskegee and West Alabama. Shorter’s No. 2, Romain Ferreira, is also 4-2 through six matches, while his win total includes an upset victory over 24th-ranked Olivier Simonet of national power and then No. 7-ranked Columbus State.
On the women’s side, Shorter hopes to rebound from an 8-1 loss to national power Emory last Wednesday, spearheaded by last year’s NAIA All-American Candice Laurent, who has been exceptional so far in 2013.
Laurent, only a junior and Shorter’s No. 1, is 5-2 in singles play heading into the Christian Brothers match, with her two losses coming to No. 6-ranked Paola Cigui of then seventh-ranked Columbus State and Gabrielle Clark of No. 4-ranked, Division III power Emory.
Four of Laurent’s wins have come in straight sets, during which she has only surrendered 12 games. The other was a gritty 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 victory over Cameron Williams of North Georgia back on Feb. 6.
The Lady Hawks have also gotten strong contributions from their No. 2 and No. 3 players, Iesha Holton and Aurelie Gaborit, respectively, since the loss of No. 4 singles player Aurore Beltrando to injury two weeks ago.
The weekend schedule is as follows:
Friday, March 1; 2 pm
Men: Hawks (3-3, 0-1) at Christian Brothers
Women: Lady Hawks (4-3, 1-0) at Christian Brothers (0-4, 0-4)
Saturday, March 2; 10 am
Men: Hawks at Delta State (1-3, 0-2)
Women: Lady Hawks at Delta State (0-1, 0-1)