BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Birmingham-Southern men's tennis team opens its spring home season this Saturday, Feb. 11 at noon against Covenant College. With losing only one senior from last year's squad, the Panthers are primed to be competitive this season in the Southern Athletic Association.
"Our expectations are competing for a championship again," said Head Coach Jimmy Weinacker.
BSC will rely on the experience of first-team all-conference selections Alex Makarenko (Suwanee, Ga./Peachtree Ridge HS) and Jacob Weinacker (Birmingham, Ala./Mountain Brook HS) to help pace their success along with sophomore Anthony Pellegrini (Huntsville, Ala./Huntsville HS).
"Anthony was a freshman last year and did a great job at #5 singles and a fantastic job at #2 doubles with Jacob last year," said Weinacker. "He is going to be moving up this year."
Freshman Jamie Bekaert (Johns Creek, Ga./Rivers Academy) is expected to make an immediate contribution in singles and doubles play. Bekaert is playing out of the #3 singles position and already has a win in #3 doubles with junior Lee Thompson (Boaz, Ala./Boaz HS).
BSC started its spring campaign on the road at No. 13 Trinity University, who is No. 3 in the west region, battling against the No. 2 doubles team in the country and four regionally ranked singles players. They now return for three straight home matches, facing Covenant, then University of Alabama at Huntsville on Sunday, Feb. 12, and West Alabama on Saturday, Feb. 18.
"[The team is] going to be working very hard during the season and our goal is always to use our non-conference schedule to get ready for our conference season," added Weinacker. "Everyone has gotten better. It's going to be a battle."
The Panthers open conference play at home on Friday, March 24 against Millsaps College. The rematch of the 2016 SAA championship will happen on senior day this season when BSC hosts Sewanee on Saturday, April 8.