SALISBURY, Md. – Salisbury University senior Eric Spangler begins play in the NCAA Division III Singles Championship on Thursday, taking on University of Redlands freshman Chase Lipscomb in the round of 32 beginning at 9 a.m.
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How Eric got here
Spangler played through the regular season with a 16-1 record at the top singles spot for the men's tennis team, including a perfect 6-0 mark against Capital Athletic Conference competition, where he earned first-team all-conference and Player of the Year accolades. Spangler finished the season ranked No. 7 in the Atlantic South Region, earning the selection to the singles championship.
How Chase got here
Lipscomb holds a 21-3 singles record entering play on Thursday, beginning the year at the No. 3 spot in the Bulldogs' lineup before climbing to the top spot for the final 13 matches of the year. At the No. 1 slot, Lipscomb went 10-2 this year, with one unfinished match. He closed the regular-season ranked No. 5 in the West Region in singles play.
Playing the best
Spangler has had numerous chances against top competition this year, facing regionally-ranked opponents in five matches, with two of those foes also in the national rankings. Against regionally-ranked opponents, Spangler went 4-1 with a 1-1 mark against nationally-ranked opponents. Spangler's top win of the year came on March 23 when he defeated the University of Mary Washington's Brandon Griffin 6-3, 6-3, who was ranked No. 32 in the nation.
At the top of the mountain
Spangler enters Thursday's match with a 59-11 career singles record in maroon and gold, which is tied with Evan Thomas (2007-10) for the top mark in program history. Spangler also posted a 66-9 doubles record in his career, which is second in program history, behind only Daniel Albers' (2011-14) 69 wins. No matter what happens Thursday, Spangler will have the most total victories in program history at the completion of his playing career.
The winner of the opening-round match advances to the round of 16 later on Thursday. The second-round matches are slated to begin at 1 p.m.