MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – College of Charleston Director of Tennis Angelo Anastopoulo has seen it all.
Dating back to his first career victory in January of 1992 – a 7-2 win over Georgia Tech – who would go on to win a national title years later, to his 600th career victory (men’s and women’s tennis combined) in a 7-0 shutout of Towson on Thursday at the CofC Tennis Center at Patriots Point.
Twenty-three seasons, two classifications (NAIA to NCAA Division I) and three conference changes later, Anastoupoulo is still going strong and running one of the most successful athletics programs at The College – a program that has made six all-time NCAA Tournament appearances including the last five-straight years.
Towson (6-5) marked the third CAA opponent the Cougars (11-6) have faced this spring and eighth team in the last nine-day home stretch that included No. 25 Notre Dame, No. 6 North Carolina and a 5-2 win over No. 65 Iowa on March 18.
“This is a tail end of so many matches in a row,” Anastopoulo said. “They have done a great job of staying focused and knowing the importance of coming up ahead in these conference matches. I was proud of how they competed today. It excites them to play new opponents in the CAA as we start to travel to the other schools and see how their campuses and facilities are like.”
After claiming the doubles point early against the Tigers, CofC won all six singles matches in straight sets. Senior Kelly Kambourelis (Melbourne, Fla.) clinched the match with a 6-1, 6-3 decision over Towson’s Nani Lizana at No. 1 singles.
Anastopoulo has had many assistant coaches help him along the way. One special one is former head coach and 1987 CofC Athletics Hall of Famer Billy Silcox, who led the women’s team to the NAIA National Championship the same year of his retirement in 1983. Silcox has served as a volunteer to the program for many years since.
“It’s been an honor to coach alongside of him,” Silcox said. “Angelo is totally dedicated and everything he does is for the good of the program. He has built this tennis program into a very strong one academically and talent wise as well as recruited great kids. It’s a real tribute to him on what his teams have been able to do over the years. It is a well-earned achievement and I am very proud of him.”
Anastopoulo recalls his first practice with the women’s team back in September of 1991. He pulled out an old rusty basket out of the closet in Silcox Gym and half of the balls were dead, but they were still able to run a great practice with limited resources at the time.
“Those players were as happy that day as they were today,” he said. “It has been great to have all of the things that we have now, better balls included, but yet it is the relationships that you build with the players and seeing them smile and enjoying the moment. Those are the most rewarding parts of being a coach. It’s not the things you have, but the experiences you have. Those are the things I will continue to cherish, and hope to have many, many more of.”
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON 7, TOWSON 0
March 20, 2014
CofC Tennis Center at Patriots Point
at Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
No. 1 – Kelly Kambourelis (CofC) def. Nani Lizana (Towson), 6-1, 6-3.
No. 2 – Brooke McAmis (CofC) def. Ayana Dow (Towson), 6-0, 6-1.
No. 3 – Mara Argyriou (CofC) def. Lorena Ferrer (Towson), 6-1, 6-2.
No. 4 – Samantha Maddox (CofC) def. Sophie Lesage (Towson), 6-1, 6-1.
No. 5 – Katherine Schofield (CofC) def. Nisha Shah (Towson), 6-1, 6-0.
No. 6 – Jenny Falcone (CofC) def. Ariel Burke (Towson), 6-3, 7-5.
No. 1 – Jenny Falcone-Katherine Schofield (CofC) def. Nani Lizana-Ayana Dow (Towson), 8-3.
No. 2 – Kelly Kambourelis-Mara Argyriou (CofC) def. Lorena Ferrer-Sophie Lesage (Towson), 8-1.
No. 3 – Samantha Maddox-Grace Baker (CofC) vs. Nisha Shah-Ariel Burke (Towson), 5-4, UNF.
ORDER OF FINISH
Doubles: 2, 1
Singles: 4, 5, 1*, 2, 3, 6