Friday, April 18, 2008

Tennis Anyone?

Pardon the title cliche, but I'm at the Big South Conference Men's & Women's Tennis Championships and I couldn't help it.

I've been in the press box tower at the center of the Winthrop University Memorial Courts all day yesterday and today, overseeing--and voicing--the video streaming for The EDGE on BigSouthSports.com. I'll be back to do it all again for the finals on Saturday...hopefully the weather will smile on us here in Rock Hill (SC). We have had two picture-perfect days but the forecast has rain lurking for tomorrow. ***SCHEDULE NOTE: men's and women's matches will both begin at 9am on Saturday, a move precipitated by the potential precipitation!***

It's a really interesting week at the athletic complex here, with the men's and women's tournaments being played out at the 12-court tennis layout near the Winthrop Coliseum, and the New Balance Outdoor Track & Field Championships being staged a short distance away at Winthrop's track. Add in the tennis banquet on Wednesday night (which I emceed, fun stuff). Insert a pat on the back for Winthrop here for being able to host and handle so many championship events this year--men's soccer, tennis (m/w), outdoor track (m/w), and softball (next month), plus a first-round men's basketball game (adding in the banquets, programs, and assorted extras that go along with those events)...that's quite a year for the WU athletics department!

So let's talk tennis for a minute. On the men's side, top seed Radford got a first round bye and won in the second round to make it into the finals. The number one team advancing is naturally not surprising, but seeing they will play the 6-seed may raise an eyebrow or two. Host team Winthrop surprised the 3-seed (Charleston Southern) Thursday and the 2-seed Friday to enter the final (with a key to both wins coming from victories in the #3 slot for doubles--after going winless from the #3 position all season). If the Eagles can win it all, they would do so by beating # 3-2-1 in succession. Of course, the Highlanders have no intention of seeing that happen, so the stage is set for a fascinating final: the top seed vs. the host school.

The women's side started the same way, with top seed Winthrop earning a first round bye and winning once to make it into the finals...which in turn gives the Eagles a shot at two titles on the same day. Winthrop will face 3-seed Coastal Carolina, after CCU pulled off the amazing one-two punch of beating Liberty's previously undefeated first flight players in singles and doubles! That means the women's final is another installment in the classic Winthrop-Coastal rivalry.

Meanwhile, over at the track, Jon Hart of Liberty has been smashing records with his hammer (throw) and the competition has been fierce across the board--with one more day of finals to go in before the champions are crowned. Liberty's men and Coastal's women had the lead after Thursday's events.

While we've been staging track-and-tennis-palooza here, elsewhere in South Carolina the Big South Golf Championships are also happening...the women's title has already been claimed by Charleston Southern and the men's title is coming up in the next few days.

So catch your breath...whew...softball and baseball championships will be in May. The lineup just keeps on rolling in the Big South!

By the way, among the special events to watch for this weekend (in addition to these championships and the regular baseball and softball line-up): VMI lacrosse is on The Edge!

More to come--thanks for reading SHOUT!

1 comment:

BigSoutherforlife said...

Here is my official view... The Big South is off the hook!