Tennis Nets No. 6 spot after a 16-win season

Sophomore Maria Perdomo Medina
Sophomore Maria Perdomo Medina in her first year not only claimed the no. 2 seed in singles but also contributed to break-out play for her doubles pairing.

Golden Tigers tennis teams know what it is like to play for the national championship. Only one other team has won more than Brenau’s two National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics tennis titles – Auburn University-Montgomery, which now has 12, including the last eight. Although AUM resided as the top contender in Brenau’s Southern States Athletic Conference, coaches throughout the country in the preseason poll still picked the Tigers to finish No. 6 in the nation, and that is exactly what happened.

The Tigers lead singles player, senior LynSee Choo of Kuching, Malaysia, also garnered recognition for the third straight year as a first-team All-American. In addition, Choo and junior Eline Nagels of Antwerp, Belgium, received academic recognition on the NAIA’s top Scholar-Athlete roster. And, Sophomore Stephanie Moniz, a psychology major from London, England, made the NAIA’s Champions of Character listings.

The Brenau tennis team went into the national championship tournament in Mobile, Ala., ranked seventh in the nation, but improved its standing with a 5-0 win over No. 10-ranked Southern Nazarene. The third-seeded Tigers lost in the quarterfinals in a hard-fought match with Fresno-Pacific, which ultimately finished the tournament ranked No. 3.

Brenau’s 2012 regular season losses all came against nationally top-ranked teams  including NCAA Division III No. 3-ranked Emory University and No. 9-ranked Rollins College, NAIA No. 2 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and No. 1 AUM. Regular season victories included wins over three teams that still finished in top 20 national rankings: No. 9 William Carey, No. 11 Shorter and
No. 20 Lee.

The 2012 tournament marked Brenau’s fourth consecutive appearance – and 12th overall – in the NAIA championship series. Brenau’s overall record in national championship tournament play now stands at 23-11.

“The Tigers team really surprised me at the end of the season,” said second-year coach Andre Ferreira. “We struggled with injuries throughout the year, so it was very exciting to see everyone healthy at nationals. Defeating No. 10 Southern Nazarene 5-0 and pushing No. 2 Fresno in the quarters was a result of the teams’ collective dedication and commitment to each other during practices.”

Ferreira conceded, however, that his ace in the hole at the beginning of the 2012 season was Choo – and she did not disappoint. During her 16-2 season, during which she was named Player of the Year in Brenau’s conference division, she knocked off two AUM nationally ranked players, No. 9 Jade Curtis and No. 1 Ana Veselionovic. In the tournament Choo topped Fresno Pacific’s Katarena Paliivets 6-4, 6-3 in a battle of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s fourth- and fifth-rated singles players. She was ahead in her earlier match against Southern Nazarene’s Masha Andrianova (6-2, 2-1) when play ended because the other Brenau players had won five matches in the best-of-nine competition.

Brenau picked up a big boost this season also with outstanding doubles play, not only from the top pairing of Choo and partner Hannah Thompson, a senior from Colchester, England, but also from a new combination of junior biology major Eline Nagels and freshman psychology major Maria Perdomo Medina from Canary Islands, Spain. Brenau’s No. 2 doubles team actually out-performed the No. 1 group, finishing the season with a 13-4 record and all-conference first team recognition. The Southern States Athletic Conference named Medina freshman player of the year.

The 2012 season also provided the Tigers team something it sorely needed: experience. Choo and Thompson, a mass communication major, were the only two seniors on the roster that included three freshmen and a sophomore along with junior Nagels. Choo will be back at Brenau in the fall semester to finish her degree in accounting, but with no tennis eligibility, she plans to run cross country instead. Ferreira, however, already is filling the void by recruiting the likes of Kelley Cohron of Buford, Ga., a member the Gainesville Times’ newspaper’s all-star team. She is Ferreira’s first signee from Georgia for the singularly internationally flavored Brenau team.

For more information and statistics about the 2012 tennis and cheer teams, go to www.brenautigers.com.

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