By: Josh Brannock, Sports Editor
With just two matches left in the regular season, both of UNF’s tennis programs have locked a position in the Atlantic Sun conference tournament April 20-22.
The women’s tennis team (12-4) clinched a spot in the conference with wins over Belmont University and Lipscomb University April 6-7. With a perfect 7-0 conference record on the year, the team is two games ahead of second-place East Tennessee University.
The team finishes the regular season with two games against conference opponents. With a win April 13 over Kennesaw State University, the team will clinch the regular season A-Sun conference and have the No. 1 seed headed into the tournament.
In the team’s eight wins, it has won the doubles point every time. The No. 73 doubles pairing of Aline Berkenbrock and Lorena Aviles has lost only three of their 15 matches on the season; Berkenbrock did not play in the March 25 match against West Virginia. In the team’s seven conference matches, it has blanked the competition three times and has only lost one point in the other four matches.
Last season, the team went into the A-Sun tournament as the third seed and lost in the finals to the first seeded ETSU Buccaneers 4-0.
On the men’s side, the No. 58 Ospreys sit just one game back of No. 1 ETSU, but with a loss to the Bucs earlier in the season, the team can’t finish the regular season higher than second place.
At 6-1, the team controls its own destiny on its position in the A-Sun Championships. UNF is one game ahead of Stetson University, who the Ospreys beat 4-3 March 31.
After its lone conference loss, the team has won five straight conference games, including easy wins over Florida Gulf Coast University, Lipscomb and rival Jacksonville University.
Earlier in the season, UNF took advantage of a tough nonconference schedule to gain national recognition. With wins over No. 42 South Alabama and No. 33 UNC Willmington, the Ospreys jumped from being unranked to No. 50 in the nation.
After winning the regular season championship last year, the team lost in the semi-finals to the fourth-seed Stetson University.
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