Courtesy: Joe Browning Chris Cooprider and Kosta Blank have paired to make one of UNCW's most formidable doubles tandems
WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Men’s tennis seniors Kosta Blank and Chris Cooprider hope to close out their collegiate careers on a high note today as No. 55 UNCW looks to keep its 20-match home winning streak alive when No. 68 Old Dominion visits the UNCW courts.
The Seahawks, 14-4, have won six consecutive matches and eight of their last nine outings. The Monarchs stand 13-5 heading into the home finale for UNCW.
Blank and Cooprider have been playing for the Seahawks since 2009 and have racked up a combined 102 regular season singles victories. The teammates became doubles partners during the 2010-11 season and have amassed a 27-8 record.
The tandem earned First-Team All-CAA doubles honors in 2012 and has been recognized as the CAA Doubles Team-of-the-Week twice this season. They are ranked 20th in this week’s Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll.
“Coop and Kosta are both exceptional players and people,” said Mait DuBois, UNCW’s sixth-year coach. “Their commitment to the team and their achievements during their four years here has been exceptional. I hope our fans can come out and show them the support and appreciation they deserve to finish out their home careers.”
Blank, from Winnipeg, Canada, has been named CAA Men’s Singles Player-of-the-Week once this season, with an 11-4 singles record, and thoroughly enjoys the chemistry he shares with Cooprider on the court. “It’s just a lot of fun, and that’s the most important part in doubles,” said Blank. “Just having fun and bringing energy.”
Cooprider, from Denver, Colo., was named Most Outstanding Performer at the 2011 CAA Tennis Championships and has also been honored as Men’s Singles Player-of-the-Week this spring. The veteran performer owns a team-best 15 singles wins this season.
Cooprider shares Blank’s enthusiasm on the doubles court. “Our games are very different, so we’ve learned what each other does differently,” said Cooprider. “We’ve grown to complement each other’s games.”
UNCW has built a 44-4 home record since Blank and Cooprider arrived four years ago. The seniors will be tested, though, since the Monarchs feature 88th-ranked Carlos Lopez Villa and Can Cetinel.
With their 5-2 victory over Georgia State on Sunday, the Seahawks hiked their home record to 11-0 this spring. DuBois and his team are shooting for the program’s first undefeated season at home.
ODU is coming off a 4-3 victory over JMU and is closing out its second season under Aljosa Piric.
Following Thursday’s home finale, the Seahawks wrap up the regular season on Saturday with a 1 p.m. matchup at East Carolina.