Teresa Durham, Staff Writer
An amazing season for Pirates tennis comes to a PBC end at second place.
The women had an overall 22-4 win-loss ratio, of those being 13-2 in the Conference. The men’s team took 18-7 overall with a 11-2 score for the Conference matchups. Half of the men’s losses of the general season occurred the days following the cancellation announcement of Pirate Athletics.
Towards the end, Head Coach Sean McCaffrey took a new approach of switching around experienced doubles partners with newer teammates, which was a tactic well-received. New bonds were formed and flourished.
Friday through Sunday, both tennis teams played in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament in Florence, South Carolina. Armstrong teams tore apart their opponents in the quarterfinals and the semifinals.
The Quarterfinals against the Georgia College Bobcats on Friday was easily won by the Pirates. The men won 5-1, with the one defeat being Bjorn Kurtze’s and Lorenzo Camilli’s No. 2 doubles. The Bobcats lost the last time at 7-2. The women won their Quarterfinal match 5-0, just like when they played at the Bobcats a few weeks ago when they won 9-0.
The Lander University Bearcats also lost to both teams on Saturday at the Semifinals, in a repeat of what happened April 9. Weeks ago, the Armstrong men’s team had difficulty, only winning 5-4, this time they won 5-1 versus the Bobcats.
Women’s team had about the same level of difficulty with Flagler University’s Saints as they did when playing them on April 1. Pirates won 7-2 at the previous match and during the Semifinals pulled off a 5-3 victory.
The PBC Tournament Championship was very challenging for men and women. Many matches went into 3rd set tiebreakers when facing Columbus State University’s Cougars. Men lost 5-2 while women lost 5-3.
In a turnaround, all experienced men’s doubles pairs were defeated while the freshman duo of Bjorn Kurtze and Lorenzo Camilli downed their opponents. Jan Porteset was the only one to bring the Pirates a singles win, finishing at 6-4, 6-3. Luca Cerin was conquered for No. 1 singles. Alberto Caceres pushed his way into a 3rd set tiebreaker but was disqualified.
Junior defending NCAA Champion Lena Lutzeier was on a roll Sunday, winning her singles’ match without a problem. Senior defending NCAA Champion Diana Stomlega also had a fantastic day, winning No. 3 singles. Together, these two are 2017 PBC Tournament Doubles MVPs and won the only doubles game for Armstrong.
Placing second after being the No. 2 seed for the PBC, both teams have the possibility to go to NCAA Division II Championship soon.