Peachtree City, Ga. - 5/15/2002 - The Union University men’s tennis program made their second consecutive National Tournament this season. The No. 12 ranked Bulldogs’ season came to an end when the No. 2 seed, Pikeville College, defeated the Bulldogs 5-0 in the second round.
The Bulldogs won their first round match over Green Mountain (Vt.) by the score of 5-0 to make the round of sixteen. Union then would get the opportunity for a rematch against Region XI Champion, Pikeville College. Pikeville defeated Union the region championship match 5-0 to earn the automatic bid and leave Union with an al-large bid. The result would be the same as Union lost 5-0 to finish yet another great season. “It’s a tough draw to meet them (Pikeville) in the second round, but we would have to face them eventually,” says Union’s head coach Gary Johnson.
This year’s group was a young team as they boasted five freshmen. However, Union’s strength and leadership were in their two seniors, Philippe Sylvestre and Jonathan Labella. Sylvestre was named the TranSouth’s Player of the Year this season. He was 14-3 in singles and 12-1 in doubles for the 2002 season. He was selected as a first team All-Conference performer in both singles and doubles. Sylvester has a 3.936 GPA and he is also graduating in May with a degree in Business. He has been selected as an NAIA Academic All-American in each of the past two seasons.
Gary Johnson was named the TranSouth Conference Coach of the Year for 2002. This was the fourth consecutive coach of the year honor for Johnson. He led his Bulldogs to a 19-4 overall record and a 5-0 conference finish. The Bulldogs claimed both the TranSouth Conference regular season and tournament championships this season.
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