The Panthers finished the 2014-15 season with a 9-13 record and thanks to Sun Belt Coach of the Year Brett Ross, the team finished this season with a 17-6 record and 4-0 in conference play. The Panthers season ended after losing 4-1 to UT Arlington in the semifinal round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
Despite not getting an NCAA bid or the Sun Belt conference title, this season was still a successful one for the Panthers. The Panthers earned their highest ranking the program has reached in nine years, at No. 51 ITA on April 5. Coach Ross feels the team had a great year despite not reaching all their goals.
“Overall, we had a great year,” Ross said. “I think this team turned the corner in terms of confidence against every opponent. We reached the highest ranking for the program in nearly a decade and it was definitely a lot of fun.”
In addition there were several players who had a breakout season. Three Panthers were awarded Sun Belt Student-Athlete of the Week honors, Zackery Kennedy, Sebastian Acuna, and Jack MacFarlane. Kennedy and Jannis Koeke were named to the All-Sun Belt Singles First Team, and Acuna and Andrei Andrukhou were named to the All-Sun Belt Singles Second Team.
Not only did the players have a breakout season on the court, but off the court as well. The team as a whole had the highest overall GPA in the Sun Belt and earned seven academic awards. Koeke, Felipe Jaworski, Valentin Horvat, and Chinmay Handa were named to the Sun Belt Commissioner’s List. Joseph Bishop and Acuna were named to the Academic Honor Roll.
2016/17 Season preview
The Panthers finished last season with a successful season and look for them to bring that momentum into the next season.
“We have a lot to build off of for next season, as we have not lost any of our starting line,” Coach Ross said.
That’s right, the 17-6 team is coming back once again as a whole unit without skipping a beat. Jaworski, 15-3 record, Koeke, 11-8, and Kennedy, 12-6, are all coming back to lead the team to another successful season behind Coach of the Year Ross.