Saints serving up a trail to regionals

Leadership of Jonsson and Jutronic paves the way to rematches

By Melissa Bear
Photo by Glenn Judah

PHOTO CAPTION: div class=”posttext”>Mario Jutronic continues to be one of the most consistent players for the men’s tennis team, and with doubles partner Andri Jonsson gives the Saints a tough 1-2 punch.

The Flagler College Men’s Tennis Coach, Walter Shinn, has high expectations for his NAIA No. 7 Saints as they go into the NAIA Region XIV Tournament on April 22-23.

After playing a tough schedule this season, including several NCAA Division I and II teams and top ranked NAIA teams, Shinn feels his team has played well for much of the season and should continue to do so in their postseason play.

“We should go to nationals if everyone keeps playing the way they’ve been playing,” said Shinn.
The team has been led all season by the No. 1 and No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles players, Junior Mario Jutronic and senior Andri Jonsson.

“Mario and Andri are two of our leaders. They’ve played well all season,” Shinn said.

The Saints traveled down to Miami to complete regular season conference play, defeating St. Thomas University, 7-0, improving their record in the conference to 3-2. Jutronic and Jonsson felt positive about their performances.

“I felt confident in my play,” Jonsson said. “We were unbeatable.”

The Saints have had two regular season losses to Florida Sun Conference opponents, one to NAIA No. 17 Webber International and another to No. 3 Embry-Riddle. The loss to Webber was the team’s first loss, very early in the season. The team thinks that if faced with Webber again in the regional tournament, that they will play much differently, hoping to avenge the regular season loss.

“We should play Webber in the first round of regionals, and we should win,” Jutronic said.
“I would like to be in the regional finals against Embry Riddle. They are a very good team,” Shinn said.

As the team looks to participate in what could be the last post-season play for many of the players due to the transition to NCAA Div. II, Shinn does not feel that the transition is weighing heavily on his players minds.

“I don’t think that the change to Div. II is really affecting the players mentality for how they do well.”

As the only senior on the team, Jonsson just wants his team to be playing their best. “I want us to reach our peak and be playing our best for nationals,” he said.

The Saints will finish out their regular season play on April 11 against Northwood University, before heading to Daytona for the regional tournament.

The national tournament will be held May 15-19 in Mobile, Ala.

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