Bao Highlights A-Sun Postseason Honors Winning Freshman of the Year
Thursday, April 19, 2012 | by Justin Glover (@Jglove3)
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Photo by Dennis Snyder

FORT MYERS, Fla. – After an outstanding freshman campaign, freshman Tianyu Bao (Tianjin, China/Bayshore HS) highlighted the FGCU men’s tennis postseason recognition, earning Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year honors and a unanimous selection to the All-Freshmen Team.  Rounding out the postseason accolades, freshman Michael Beiler (Palm Harbor, Fla./Dunedin HS) joined Bao on the league’s All-Freshmen Team, announced by the league on Thursday afternoon.

“I literally jumped for joy when I heard Bao earned the Freshman of the Year honor,” said first-year head coach C.J. Weber. “He has made so many improvements in his game this year both physically and mentally, and there couldn’t be a better way to be recognized for his efforts.  Playing No. 1 singles your freshman year is a very difficult task, but Bao rose to the occasion and ended up having one of the best records on the team at the most difficult position. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

Bao finished the season with a 8-8 dual match record, including a 4-5 mark in conference matches. Bao played all nine A-Sun matches at No. 1 singles and earned victories against A-Sun Player of the Year Maksim Levanovich (Stetson), who was ranked No. 113, fellow All-Freshmen Team member Alex Tolliver (Kennesaw State), Jacksonville’s Jose Fantova and Belmont’s Renato Antun. He also finished with a perfect 2-0 mark against ranked opponents in his wins against Levanovich (No. 113) and Penn’s Ivan Turudic (No. 83).

Beiler also had a solid freshman season, finishing with a 7-9 dual match record and a 5-4 record in A-Sun action at No. 6 singles. Beiler earned victories against Alexander Pena (Kennesaw State), Victor Dias (Mercer), Matt Hansen (Jacksonville), Timo Kranz (UNF) and Belmont’s Bruno Silva during the conference season.

“For our only two freshmen to get named to the All-Freshmen Team says a lot about the potential of this program,” added Weber. “Bao and Beiler were the perfect freshmen, coming to campus with open minds and a strong desire to get better. They’re great teammates, and fun to be around both on and off the court.”

The awards mark the first time an FGCU men’s tennis player has been named A-Sun Freshman of the Year and the first time the program has had anyone honored on the All-Freshmen Team.

Heading into the A-Sun Tourney on Friday, the Eagles (7-9, 4-5 A-Sun) earned the No. 6 seed after winning a 4-3 match against Belmont to earn the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bruins. The Green and Blue have enjoyed their best season since jumping to Division I in 2007-08 and have doubled their win total from a season ago. FGCU was ruled eligible for postseason play in all 14 of its Division I sports on August 12, 2011 after going through the transitional period the previous four years.

The winner of the match between the Eagles and third-seeded Stetson will play second-seeded #58 North Florida (18-5, 8-1 A-Sun) on Saturday, April 21 at 11 a.m.    

Player of the Year
: Maksim Levanovich, Stetson
Freshman of the Year: Tianyu Bao, FGCU
Coach of the Year: Yaser Zaatini, ETSU

First Team All-Atlantic Sun
Name                     School          Cl.     
* Maksim Levanovich Stetson         Sr.     
* Moritz Buerchner    UNF              Jr.     
*Ramiro Blanco        USC Upstate   Sr.     
*Sander Gille           ETSU            Sr.     
Jesus Bandres          ETSU             Jr.     
Pierre Tafelski          Mercer          Sr.     
Daniel Sotomarino     UNF              Jr.     
Henrique Norbiato     Belmont        Jr.     
*Unanimous Selection

Second Team All-Atlantic Sun
Name                     School          Cl.     
Oliver Strecker         Lipscomb       Jr.     
Njal Stene               Stetson         Sr.     
Juan Ramirez           ETSU            Jr.     
Jeremy Bonnevalle    ETSU            Sr.     
Rogerio Ribeiro         ETSU            Fr.     
Roger Ordeig           ETSU            So.    

Norbert Nemcsek     UNF              Fr.                        
Daniel Sotomarino                        Jr.     
Jeremy Bonnevalle    ETSU            Sr.     
Juan Ramirez                              Jr.     
Jesus Bandres          ETSU            Jr.     
Rogerio Ribeiro                            Fr.     

All-Freshmen Team
Name                     School                   
*Rogerio Ribeiro       ETSU                     
*Chester Espie         Stetson                  
*Tianyu Bao                FGCU                         
Nathan Debut          Stetson                  
Norbert Nemcsek      UNF                      
Michael Beiler              FGCU                         
Eduardo Martinez      Jacksonville            
Alex Toliver             Kennesaw State      
*Unanimous Selection