February 25, 2013

Bishops Compete at ITA Nat'ls, Sweep Weekly Awards

Rocky Mount, N.C. - The men's tennis team of North Carolina Wesleyan traveled to St. Peter, Minn. this past weekend to compete in the ITA Division III National Indoor Championships hosted by Gustavus Adolphus College. Despite a trio of tough losses versus the nation's best, the Battling Bishops were able to sweep the USA South Player and Rookie of the Week awards on Monday, as senior Artsiom Prostak and freshman Mikhail Konnov were honored by the league.

Since the start of the spring season, Prostak has earned a 4-2 record at the #2 singles flight and a 6-0 record at #1 doubles. In singles play, the Minsk, Belarus native has collected wins over opponents from 17th-ranked Case Western Reserve, 21st-ranked Mary Washington, Vassar and 8th-ranked UC Santa Cruz. In doubles, he has teamed with Robert Kjellberg for a perfect 6-0 record. This is the first Player of the Week recognition of his career.

Konnov has also enjoyed early success. The freshman from Yaroslav, Russia has earned a pair of victories at the #4 and #5 singles positions and a trio of wins at #3 doubles so far this spring. In singles action, Konnov has earned wins over opponents from Vassar and Santa Cruz, while in doubles play, he has teamed with fellow rookie Marcus Pola to defeat opponents from UMW, Vassar and Santa Cruz. This is Konnov's first Rookie of the Week accolade this season.

The weekend saw Wesleyan drop an 8-1 decision to eventual champion Kenyon College, followed by a tough 6-3 decision to top-region opponent Johns Hopkins to whom the Bishops lost a pair of decisive three-setters. Wesleyan finished up with a heartbreaking 5-4 loss to Santa Cruz on Saturday evening.

Said NCWC head coach Worth Richardson, "Returning only one full-time starter from last year's team certainly presented questions going into this season, but we have had good opportunities to beat top ten teams and have shown we are capable of doing it. We will now prepare for our outdoor season and conference play."

The Bishops kick of USA South play on Sunday when they host league rival Christopher Newport at noon.