After spending the last two weeks in the ITA Top 100 at No. 94, Sam Matheson remains inside the Top 100 in the latest ITA National Poll. Matheson ranks No. 100 as announced today by the ITA rankings committee.
Matheson finished the regular season with a 18-1 overall record this spring and became the first Flame to win Big South Player of the Year honors. In addition, Matheson notched 28 singles victories overall this season, surpassing Shea Thomas' previous program record of 27 set in 2013.
Matheson is one of only 21 non-Power Five conference players represented in this week's ITA rankings. Matheson is also one of only 15 non-Power Five conference players inside the Top 100. The New Zealand native is the lone Big South representative.
Matheson's ranking comes as no surprise with the No. 1 singles player rattling off 18 victories in 19 decisions this spring. The Liberty junior was tabbed a member of the 2016 Big South Men's Tennis Singles First Team All-Conference squad as well as Big South Men's Tennis Doubles First Team All-Conference. Matheson's spring success is directly correlated to what the junior accomplished during the fall season.
Matheson exceled on a historic run in the ITA All-American tournament in early October, finishing the event with a 6-1 record before being knocked out in the final match before the main draw.
Matheson was the first Flame to advance to the event's qualifier, defeating multiple Power Five conference opponents including Arkansas' Mike Redlicki, who is currently ranked No. 23 in the ITA rankings. Matheson defeated Redlicki in three sets, 6-4, 0-6, 6-3. The Liberty junior also handled Hugo Dojas of Texas Tech in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2. Dojas is currently ranked No. 110 but has reached as high as No. 94 this season.
Matheson finished the season as the highest-ranked Big South competitor. Should the New Zealand native finish inside the Top 125, he will have the opportunity to compete in the NCAA Men's Tennis Championship as an individual starting on May 25 in Tulsa, Okla. Matheson will have to await the final decision by the selection committee, which will be announced on May 4.
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