Milligan posts third, fourth-place finishes

By Rebecca Pierson

   JOHNSON CITY -- The Milligan College tennis teams competed in the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tennis Tournament this weekend at the Liberty Bell Tennis Center.
   Milligan placed third overall in the women's and fourth in the men's. Not surprisingly, Virginia Intermont took both the men's and women's championship.
   In both singles' play, Milligan lost all of its matches in the second round, with the exception of the women's No. 1 seed Cassie Lomison, who was runner-up, and Cheri Lomison, who won the fifth seed.
   "We were disappointed but [VI] is a really good team," Cassie said. "They deserved to go on. We thought we might have a chance, but UVA-Wise showed up and played awesome."
   "We knew we were the underdogs and had to play well," Cheri said. "They played really well, so it just didn't work out."
   Milligan's women head coach Marvin Glover said he was not really surprised with they way the tournament played out.
   "I knew when the season started that VI was the team to beat," he said. "I thought Virginia -Wise had improved their squad. Tennessee Wesleyan was basically going to have the same team back, so it looked like we were going to be in a dog fight for second place. It would take something unusual to happen for us to compete for the championship. It pretty much panned out that way going into the play today.
   "I thought Cassie Lomison had another solid campaign as a sophomore. She played tremendously. Cheri Lomison won the championship at No. 5 singles and kept finding ways to beat opponents that have varying types of games. She was able to adjust her strategies and win essentially every time she stepped out onto the court.
   "Lyndsey Bowie was a nice addition to our squad and she is coming back next year to play as well. We have two seniors, Sara Wallingford, who played No. 4 singles, and Amy Vincent, who played No. 3 doubles. Otherwise, we are pretty much intact for next season."
   The men's team only has one senior in its lineup, No. 4 seed Adam Campbell.
   In the men's singles, Jorge Ascencio of Virginia Intermont took the top seed over Humberto Costa of King College 6-2, 6-4. Julio Luzuriega of Tennessee Wesleyan earned the second seed over Travis Sandlant of VI, 6-4, 6-4.
   Third in the conference is Thiago Barbosa, VI, who defeated Juan Balda, TW, 6-2, 6-1. David Halldorsson, VI, won over Daniel Cardenas, TW, 6-2, 6-0 for the fourth spot. VI's Vinnie Bitencourt and Milan Kosicky earned the fifth and sixth spot, respectively.
   In the women's singles, Kago Phatshwane of VI earned the top seed after defeating Cassie Lomison, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5). UV-W's Laura King took the second seed over VI's Esther Mbugua, 7-5, 7-6 (5). The third seed goes to Cristina Oliviera of VI who defeated UV-W's Erin Dorsey, 6-1, 6-2.
   VI's Felicia Ruiz took the fourth seed over UV-W's Jessica Bruce, 7-6 (0), 6-3.
   Cheri Lomison finished fifth and UV-W's Amanda Terry was the No. 6 champion.
   In the men's doubles, Ascencio and Barbesa took the championship in a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Juan Biquerizo and Luzuriaga. The No. 2 pair is Sandlant and Bittencourt over Victor Motta and Eric Eakins of King, 6-1, 6-2.
   Halldorssen and Robby Pierce earned the third slot over Andrew Bauman and Aaron Mullenix of Montreat, 6-1, 6-0.
   In the women's doubles, Phatshwane and Mbugua won the No. 1 slot over Laura King and Nicole Pilkerton, 6-0, 6-0. Oliviera and Ruiz defeated Davina Dishner and Bruce, 6-1, 7-5 for second. Dorsey and Kate Daub won for third against Hall and Stinson, 6-4, 6-3.
   "We were right there for a chance to finish in second, but we wound up third," Glover said. "Virginia-Wise just played better at more crucial times. They won matches they were underdogs in, and we lost a couple of matches that we were favored to win.
   "I guess it was our turn to have the bad luck of the draw, but you still have to play your way through the brackets. We just didn't quite get it done.
   "We have the core for a good solid team next year," he said. "I thought we had a successful season. I am not displeased. They gave it all they had and they are good students."
   The 2004 AAC Tennis Awards were also presented this weekend. Milligan recipients were as follows: Tom Jones, Men All Conference Team; Patrick Mitchell, Academic All Conference and Sportsman Team; Cassie Lomison, Sportswoman Team, Academic All Conference and Women All Conference; Amber Campbell, Women All Conference; and Cheri Lomison, Academic All Conference.