BOCA RATON, Fla. - In a match that lasted over five hours and waiting through a pair of lighting delays, 13th ranked Florida Gulf Coast University outlasted No. 14 Florida Southern College 5-3 in the first round of the NCAA Division II Men's Tennis Southeast Regional. The match saw five extended sets, three tiebreakers and a trio of three-set singles contests.
The Eagles (16-7) opened the match on the friendly side of a 2-1 doubles split to take the early lead. Picking up the first point of the match, Alex Gjesten and Mikkel Muller defeated FSC's Roman Schirmaier and Justin Laflamme 8-4 in the second position. The Moccasins (17-8) would even things up in the third spot as Isaac Galindo and Greg Heartt downed Gulf Coast's Alberto Gutierrez and Brad Henderson 8-6.
Settling the doubles battle and setting the tone for rest of the match, FGCU's Brenton Bacon and Danny Lee beat top-ranked Michael Knoedler and Alex Thesleff 9-8(7-5) in the first of multiple tiebreakers in the match.
In singles, Florida Gulf Coast pushed its advantage to 3-1 after Lee topped Laflamme 6-0, 6-2 in the sixth position. The Mocs closed the gap to 3-2 with the next point as fourth-ranked Knoedler defeated No. 12 Bacon 6-4, 6-2 in the top spot before Galindo evened the score at 3-3 with a 6-2, 6-4 decision over Gutierrez in the second position.
With three matches to play, each one was hard-fought to the wire and saw extended three-set finishes. Muller put the Eagles within a point of advancing after a long 7-4, 3-6, 7-6(7-3) decision in the fourth position. Already having split sets, Gjesten sealed the victory for FGCU with a 4-6, 7-6(8-6), 6-4 come-from-behind win over Schirmaier in the third spot.
Closing in on a win in the fifth position but not finishing, FSC's Guenther Fercher led Edson Lima 5-7, 6-3, 5-2.
Florida Gulf Coast advances to take on top-seed Lynn University on Friday at 3 p.m. The Fighting Knights defeated Catawba College 5-0 earlier in the day.