SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's tennis team begins play in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament on Wednesday, April 20 traveling to No. 27 Christopher Newport University in a match beginning at 4 p.m.
How we got here
The Sea Gulls went 5-2 in CAC regular-season competition to claim the No. 3 seed in the league tournament, earning a first-round bye. Overall, Salisbury has 10-8 record with four matches coming against nationally-ranked opponents.
How they got here
Christopher Newport recorded a 6-1 mark in league play to earn the No. 2 seed in the field and a first-round bye. The Captains have gone 12-8 overall during the 2016 season. Christopher Newport has dropped its last two matches entering play on Wednesday.
Last time we met
The teams got together during the regular season just two weeks ago, with the Captains claiming an 8-1 victory. The Captains earned three points in doubles play, despite two close matches finishing by 8-5 scores. Salisbury's lone point came at No. 1 singles where senior Eric Spangler grabbed a 6-0, 6-2 win against Justin Cerny. Cerny was ranked No. 17 in the South Atlantic Region at the time – one of four wins against regionally-ranked opponents for Spangler this year.
The Captains have won the last two meetings, with Salisbury's last win in the series coming during the regular season last year – a 5-4 win at the SU Tennis Courts. The teams met in the CAC semifinals last year, with the Captains garnering a 5-4 win. The squads have been even in recent history, splitting the last four matches, with Salisbury winning in the CAC semifinals during the 2014 season.
Scouting the Captains
Christopher Newport is led by regionally-ranked Cerny and David Reed. Reed is ranked No. 10 in the region, though he has played in just one of the Captains' last six matches. At the No. 1 singles spot this year, Reed has gone 6-7 in 2016, dropping his last match to snap a four-match winning streak. Cerny is currently ranked No. 18 in the region, with a 14-10 record overall, while going 8-4 at No. 2. Steven Boslet and Chiraag Shetty are ranked No. 4 in the region in doubles play, going 9-9 in dual match play this year at the top doubles slot.
Seniors closing strong
Seniors Spangler and Shanon Gunther are looking for a strong finish to their Salisbury campaigns. The pair – the top doubles duo on the squad – is currently ranked No. 5 in the South Atlantic Region and sport a 14-3 record this year, including a 5-1 mark in CAC play together. Spangler, at No. 1 singles has gone 16-1 in singles play this year to climb to No. 6 in the region, while reaching a tie for the top spot in program history in career victories with 59 wins in his four years.
The winner of Wednesday's match will advance to the CAC championship match on Saturday, April 23 against Wednesday's other semifinal winner between top-seeded University of Mary Washington and fourth-seeded Southern Virginia University.