Men's, women's tennis fighting for position in A-Sun play

(photo courtesy of MercerBears.com) Fernando Armendaris looks to volley a serve during a recent match as the men's team fights to stay around the .500 mark for the season.

(photo courtesy of MercerBears.com) Fernando Armendaris looks to volley a serve during a recent match as the men's team fights to stay around the .500 mark for the season.

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(photo courtesy of MercerBears.com) Fernando Armendaris looks to volley a serve during a recent match as the men's team fights to stay around the .500 mark for the season.

NOTE: GARRET MCDOWELL AUTHOR

Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams have had mixed starts to their 2011 seasons, with Mercer’s men at 7-10 through March 28 and the women at 3-12 through March 28.  Despite the tough starts to the season, the Bears have performed well at home, including a combined 14-0 sweep of Young Harris by the men and women combined. Nevertheless the Bears have had a tough spot as of late, with both squads winning just one in their last five matches each.

Men’s Tennis: 7-10,
4-4 A-Sun

Butler 4, Mercer 3
Barton received his eighth win on the year in singles play, but the Bears were unable to pick up the doubles point after splitting the singles points 3-3. Despite Mercer benefiting from a defaulted point and doubles matchup, a lineup that saw mostly backups and reserves playing was unable to do much. Basketball player Justin Cecil even had some playing time, but he was unable to secure a point in doubles play.

North Florida 5, Mercer 2
Armendaris got to eight wins and Barton got to nine, but the Bears were unable to beat the nationally ranked (#75) North Florida Ospreys on the road. Tafelski, Tauchner, Frias and Rosindo were all beaten in straight sets as the Bears lost their first match in conference play in five games.

Mercer 4, Jacksonville 3
Mercer rebounded from the trip to North Florida with a squeaker of a win over Jacksonville. Barton won his 10th singles match this season and the Bears saw Tauchner and Rosindo win their decisive doubles match 9-8. Tafelski won his ninth singles match on top of that, as his return to winning ways helped stop the losing streak.

USC Upstate 5, Mercer 2
Barton continued to dominate the competition, getting to 11 wins this year, but the Bears lost tiebreakers across the board that could have changed the outcome. The Bears dropped their third conference game on the year and they lost their second home match since beating FGCU 7-0 on March 12. Armendaris and Frias were able to win their doubles match, but were unable to change the outcome.

Campbell 5, Mercer 2
Barton got his sixth straight victory this season, but the rest of the Bears could not follow his performance, as all singles matches were lost otherwise. The Bears were able to challenge the Atlantic Sun’s upper echelon team in the doubles point at home, winning two of the three matches. All in all, the Bears seemed to be slumping. The Bears have ETSU and Kennesaw both at home, with a road trip to Jacksonville State in between. After this, the Bears will play in the Atlantic Sun tournament.

Women’s Tennis: 3-12,
1-7 A-Sun

Butler 5, Mercer 2
With a non-conference matchup interspersed between several conference games, the Bears looked to play a tough out-of-region game against the Butler Bulldogs. Despite support at the three and four spots with Aurelie de Montjou and Lucie Payrat, the Bears were unable to win, losing their seventh in a row. They were swept at the doubles point, leading to the big win for Butler.

North Florida 6, Mercer 1
Payrat was the only winner in the Bears’ loss on March 18 against North Florida. The Bears were swept at the doubles point again, and they lost every singles match in straight sets.

Jacksonville 6, Mercer 1
Payrat’s hot streak continued, but the Bears were once again looking to see that success across the board. It was their ninth straight loss and their sixth loss in conference play with Jacksonville winning their 11th match this year.

Mercer 5, USC Upstate 2
USC Upstate stayed winless as the Bears won for the first time since Feb. 20. Jennifer Lada, Amanda Bertani and Sarah Hanna’s straight sets victories followed Payrat’s fifth straight win. In doubles competition, Payrat was on the losing side, but the Bears still won the point as the other pairs came through. This was the first Atlantic Sun victory for the Bears this year.

Campbell 6, Mercer 1
Payrat was 4-5 in singles play before a now six-match winning streak that has her at 10-5, 6-2 in conference play. She has been hot while the rest of her teammates continue to struggle in a rebuilding year for the Bears. All singles losses were in straight sets. The doubles point was not in doubt for Campbell as the nine-win Camels continued to perform well before the A-Sun tournament. The Bears get Western Carolina on April 1, before ETSU the next day. A trip to Jacksonville State looms before the season finale at home versus Kennesaw.

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