Tennis Hopes Two-Year Unbeaten Streak Leads To Playoffs

Monday, May 21, 2007

The University of Texas at Tyler tennis teams have both been perfect for the last two seasons against the ASC East. Now, the Patriots enter the offseason knowing they’ll have the chance to play on the national courts for the first time.

For the first time, UT Tyler tennis teams' ended play at the close of the regular season. The Patriots provisional NCAA status kept them from advancing to the American Southwest Conference tournament, which for the first time automatically qualified the ASC champion for the NCAA Tournament.

It was a tough break for the division-champion Patriots, who have not lost an ASC East matchup in over two years.

“We tried not to think about it when we were finished and saying our good-byes, and teams we had beaten were still playing,” Patriots coach Chris Bizot said. “Some of our players were saying how strange it felt to be done earlier than normal.”

“We have a lot to look forward to for next season, but it was definitely a strange feeling this year.”

For the Patriots men’s team, they steamrolled through the ASC East undefeated for their fourth-straight ASC East Championship. Bizot says the East got a lot tougher this season.

“The East Division on the men’s side is a lot more competitive,” Bizot said. “Mississippi College and UT Dallas and LeTourneau had made some big strides. Fortunately, we were still able to win the East, but it was a real testament to our players. It was a stuggle, and really gratifying to pull through some wins.”

“We had a lot of injuries, which you can never be ready for, but the good thing is we did have a lot of depth. We were built deep for situations like this. Everything worked out about like we expected.”

The men were 5-0 in the ASC East, and 14-6 overall. Bizot says their depth and team chemistry puts them on the right track for next year, when the Patriots are playoff-eligible.

“Our guys really got along well. It was one of the closest-knit teams I’ve had in my coaching career, and I’m looking forward to adding those new people and moving forward. Our teams are going to be a year older, and we’ve got some players coming in we’re really excited about. It’s an exciting time for us.”

“It’s all on us now, there’s no limitations. We can go as far as we’re willing to work for.”

The women’s team was almost perfect against the ASC East, dropping only a single match point during their 5-0 run to their second straight ASC East Championship.

“It won’t be like this every year where we win 44 out of 45 match points,” Bizot said, “but it was a very good thing for this season. It’s going to get tougher every year. We have a long way to go as far as where we want to be nationally. We kind of learned that in St. Louis (against #10 Washington University). We’re really close to some of those teams that are carrying those national rankings, the difference is our experience. We learned from that this year.”

“The girls are really in a good position right now, as far as our talent and our age.”

The women finished 13-7, and undefeated in the ASC East. Bizot said he’s especially proud of his women’s team.

“The girls are always special to me because I built them from scratch,” Bizot explains. “When I got here, we didn’t have any female players. Now, the fact that we’ve been able to get these girls to this level is very exciting, and I’m looking forward to next season.”

The Patriots will be fully eligible for the postseason for the first time in the 2007-2008 season, including both the ASC playoffs and the NCAA Tournament.