Two Historic Conference Men's Tennis Programs Collide: Lees-McRae vs. Anderson

BANNER ELK, N.C. - Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at the Lees-McRae College Indoor Tennis Center the No. 39 Lees-McRae College Bobcats men's tennis team will put their Conference Carolinas unbeaten record on the line against conference unbeaten and the No. 17 Anderson University Trojans. These two programs have dominated Conference Carolinas men's tennis since the conference began in 1996.

Lees-McRae enters the match 10-5 overall and atop the conference with a 5-0 record. Anderson brings a 5-1 overall record to Banner Elk and a 3-0 conference record.

The Trojans also enter with an impressive 43-conference match win streak on the line. The team hasn't lost a conference match dating back to February of 2005 where they fell 5-4 to Barton.

Lees-McRae hasn't defeated Anderson in six years since 2003 when the Bobcats won a 5-3 match on April 13th. Since 2000, Anderson leads the series 9-3.

The Bobcats are riding an eight match win streak with their last loss coming to Division I The Citadel on February 22nd. Four of the five Lees-McRae losses this season have come against Division I teams: UNC-Wilmington, Elon, Appalachian State and The Citadel. Their only Division II loss came in their first match of the season against then No. 23 USC-Aiken, 8-1. Since then, the Bobcats have reeled off nine straight Division II wins including upsets over then ranked No. 36 Queens, No. 32 Mount Olive and No. 21 Augusta State. On February 14th the Bobcats pulled an upset over Division I UNC-Asheville 4-3 beating them for the second time in three years.

Anderson enters after not having played a match in just over two weeks. The Trojans last match was on March 12th against Coker; Anderson won 9-0. The team started out the season with four consecutive wins, including wins over then ranked No. 22 Augusta State, No. 36 Queens and No. 31 Limestone. Their only loss of the season was a 5-4 loss to No. 4 Georgia College and State University on March 8th.

The two programs carry a rich tennis program history into the match dating back to the conference's start in 1996. Lees-McRae has won the conference regular season crown four times with their first title coming in 1998. The Bobcats followed with three straight titles in 1999 and 2000 with their last one coming in 2001. Since then, Anderson, who didn't enter the league until 1999, has dominated the regular season crown winning their first title in 2002. They followed with wins in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Combined the two teams have won 10 of the conference's 13 regular season men's tennis titles.

On the national scale, the Bobcats received their highest program ranking in November of 2000, No. 8. The Bobcats stayed in the polls until the 2006 when they fell from the polls. They didn't return until October of 2008 when the team emerged for the first time in two years with the No. 39th ranking.

Anderson has maintained a top 40 ranking spanning back to the November 2000 poll when they were No. 21. The Trojans have consistently stayed ranked between No. 15 and No. 25 for the past nine seasons.