MOBILE, AL - The 4th ranked men's tennis team fell in the SSAC Tournament Finals to #8 William Carey University by a score of 5-3 on Friday the 26th. The Knights took all 3 doubles matches to go up 3-0 but the Crusaders came back winning 5 singles in the 2-6 spots for the 5-3 win.
After the finals, the SSAC announced the men's tennis awards for the conference and the Knights came up with two of the top awards and placed six players on the All-Conference team, three on the All-Academic team, and Leandro Otero received the Musco Lighting Champions of Character Award for the team.
Yuri Syromolotov was named the SSAC Player of the Year giving the Knights the award for the second straight year. Syromolotov was 10-2 in the #1 singles position and 14-2 in doubles action on the season including being undefeated in SSAC play in singles and doubles for the season.
Head Coach Tom Bates earned his 3rd Coach of the Year Award and 1st for men's tennis following up his two wins as the Women's Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2018. After an 0-2 start, Bates' team won 13 straight matches to win the SSAC Regular Season Championship and reach the Tournament Finals.
Along with Syromolotov, Jimmy Merah, Octavio Tamola, Alejandro Prada, Lucas De Freitas, and Santino Romeo were all named to the All-Conference Team taking 6 spots which was the most of any team. Alvaro Conesa joined Tamola and Romeo on the All-Academic Team.
The Knights are currently ranked #4 in the final regular season polls and will await their invitation to the NAIA National Championships which begin on May 13 in Mobile, AL. This will be the 3rd straight appearance for the Knights in the NAIA Tournament.