The 2010-2011 season for the University of the Cumberlands (UC) tennis teams was one of hard work and dedication. Though the record may not reflect this, both teams put forth a valiant effort both on and off the court. With a large senior class, the Patriots were determined to have the most successful season possible.
The men's team finished the season with a 4-16 record and a fourth place finish in the Mid-South Conference (MSC). The women made it a point to improve as the season progressed and finished with an 8-12-1 record and placed third in the conference tournament.
The men's team faced Lindsey Wilson College in the MSC tournament and fell 2-5. Remarking on the men's team and season, Head Coach Chin Tan commented, "This season is going to be remembered for how the men overcame their lack of doubles play and finished the season playing very good doubles. From not winning the doubles' point to consistently winning the dubs, we overcame a lot of challenges. The men worked hard and they worked very hard and for a very long time. Many are on the courts till late in the evening with me. The competition was tough, but I was fortunate to have players who are willing to practice for a long time to get ready for these competitors."
The women's team faced UVA-Wise in the first round of conference play sweeping the completion by a final of 9-0. The second round did not come as easy as the team fell to Lindsey Wilson 2-5.
"This has to be one of the most successful seasons since 1999," said Tan. "We had depth and we had strong willed players who fought hard for UC. Furthermore, the girls worked hard to prepare for our opponents. They hit balls for long hours, ran long and short distances, and endured uncertain weather every day. They took this all in with great stride. The team did not start out bonded like it was at the end so this means that they worked hard to stick together as a team. With 6 new freshmen when we started to now all of them playing like veterans, each and everyone on the team have done a good job of improving their level of play."
One of the most prideful moments for the women's team was defeating nationally ranked # 17 Lindsey Wilson during the regular season.
Several of Cumberlands' athletes were recognized with All-Conference honors. Neesha Thirumalaichelvam (Selangor, Malaysia) was named All-Conference in singles and doubles play, along with her partner Kelcey Bauer (Fairfield, Ohio). Three other women were recognized with Academic All-Conference including Kelcey Bauer, Alissa Ellis (Stanford, KY), and Kaitlin Smith (Erlanger, KY).
Oscar Pantoja (Zipaquira, Colombia) and Guillermo Alvarez (Bogota, Colombia) earned MSC Honorable Mention for their singles play. Alvarez and his partner Danilo Garcia (Quito, Ecuador) also earned Honorable Mention for their play in doubles. For their hard work in the classroom, Steffan Crowe (Carlisle, OH) and Jerrid Neeley (Manchester, KY) earned Academic All-Conference on the men's side.
Seven seniors from the Patriots tennis teams will be lost to graduation. The Patriots will bring back a lot of new talent with 8 members returning on each team for the 2011-2012 season. Coach Tan has high hopes to have the Patriots ready to go for another season in hopes of a Mid-South Conference title.