Sakai named BSC Freshman of the Week

Published 12:21 pm Thursday, March 29, 2018

After a 2-0 weekend that included his first Big South Conference (BSC) win as a Lancer, freshman men’s tennis athlete Raisei Sakai was named the Big South Freshman of the Week, as announced Wednesday morning by the conference office.

A native of Aichi, Japan, Sakai secured his first collegiate Big South win in a dominant 6-3, 6-1 fashion over his Radford University counterpart, giving Longwood a lead it would hold the rest of the day Sunday. That milestone win came just 24 hours after Sakai had a 6-7, 6-1, 6-4 comeback to fuel a Lancer 4-3 victory over commonwealth rival James Madison University.

Sakai becomes the second Lancer to receive the honor this season, joining classmate Valentin Popescu, and just the third all-time Freshman of the Week after sopho- more ace Amadeo Blasco won the title last season. Sakai has enjoyed a debut campaign with his 14 wins, eight coming this spring. Both of his victories this past weekend came at the third spot in the lineup as he improved his record to 6-3 in that slot.

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The Lancers ended up defeating Radford 4-3 on Sunday, part of a 6-1 homestand. During that run, they also achieved a 5-2 victory over George Mason University on March 4, a 7-0 victory over West Virginia Wesleyan College on March 9, a 5-2 victory over Gardner-Webb University on March 10, and a 7-0 shutout of North Carolina A&T State University on March 17.

Longwood returns to the courts Friday afternoon as its takes on reigning Big South champion Presbyterian College followed by a showdown with UNC Asheville and reigning Player of the Year Henry Patton. First serve between the Lancers and Blue Hose is set for 2 p.m. Friday.