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Top-five tennis showdown in Titletown

The Valdosta tennis teams will play host to the top-ranked men’s and women’s teams in the country on Saturday, April 10.
The men will take on the Armstrong Atlantic men’s team which is undefeated and are the two-time defending champions while the Blazers are the No. 2 team nationally and boast a 12-1 record. The Lady Blazers take on the women’s top team and the defending champion Lady Pirates who are 21-0 this season.
The tournament triumph built a lot of momentum heading into this weekend’s clash with Armstrong Atlantic, who has been the No. 1 ranked team in Division II three years in a row. The Blazers, however, believe they are prepared and have high hopes and expectations for the encounter on April 10.
The Valdosta State men’s tennis team hit their stride this weekend, winning the Small College Blue & Gray Invitational in Montgomery, Ala.
The Blazers took the tournament in dominating fashion, crushing Emory and Abilene Christian before routing the host, Auburn University at Montgomery, in the finals.
“They’re very good,” John Hansen, head coach said. “We have to respect their game and have confidence to do well.”
Junior Daniel Dueren believes that Armstrong’s physical toughness will be prevalent throughout the match.
“They’re definitely going to be the favorite,” Dueren said. “They are physically tough, but if we prepare well, we will have a chance.”
The April 10 event is only one of five home matches that the Blazers play all year, so Dueren hopes to see a great crowd on hand to root for the home team in their pivotal contest.
“We want to have a lot of spectators come out and support us,” Dueren said. “It would be nice to see that since they will be the favorite.”
Both the Pirates and the Blazers are atop their respective Regions’ ranking; the Southeast and the South. The Lady Blazers are third in the South Region while the Lady Pirates are the top-ranked team in the Southeast.
After the game against Armstrong Atlantic, the Blazers will look to defend their crown in the Gulf South Conference Tournament on April 17. If all goes well, the Blazers could be a force to be reckoned with in the National Championships coming up.

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