TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Coming off a program-best 2012-13 season, the Florida Gulf Coast University men’s tennis team aims to keep building a successful program as it opens the 2013 fall campaign this weekend at the Bedford Cup hosted by Florida State. The tournament is slated to run through Sunday with all matches played at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center in Florida’s capital city.
Founded in 2011, the Bedford Cup is a battle ground for top players from nine of the 11 NCAA Division I men’s tennis programs in the state of Florida. Sponsored by the Youth Tennis Foundation of Florida and the Edward T. Bedford Foundation, the tournament includes a 64-team singles draw and a 32-team doubles draw. The entire FGCU roster will participate in the tournament, except for junior Michael Beiler (Palm Harbor, Fla./Dunedin HS) who is out due to injury.
“We’re looking forward to this weekend as a great first opportunity for our team this year,” head coach C.J. Weber said. “Nearly every Division-I school is represented, making it a great test for us to get going this fall.”
In the 2012 Bedford Cup, five of a total six FGCU players earned first-round wins in the main singles draw, with Jordi Vives (Barcelona, Spain/IES Ferran Tallada/USC) and Dean Tsamas (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS) advancing to the Round of 16. In the doubles draw, Tsamas and former Eagle Jackson Moore progressed to the Round of 16 before falling to a pair from FSU.
This year’s eight-man roster FGCU has slated is a combination of five decorated veterans and three newcomers who will suit up in Green and Blue for the first time. After stand-out performances last season, juniors Vives and Tianyu Bao (Tianjin, China/Bayshore HS) lead the group into this weekend seeded first and ninth, respectively, in the main singles draw, while the duo of Vives and Tulsa transfer Lucas Vaz (Sao Paulo, Brazil/Colegio Fleming/Tulsa) are seeded eighth in the doubles draw.
Coming off an unprecedented season highlighted by a 13-5 record, a conference-leading No.1 singles winning percentage (.765), upsets over two nationally-ranked opponents, an All-Conference first team selection and a spot on the A-Sun All-Tournament team it isn’t hard to see why Vives enters this weekend seeded at the top of the bracket. Earning a buy in the first round, Vives will challenge his first opponent (who is yet to be determined) in the round of 32 Thursday at 12:30 p.m.
As the only player in program history to receive back-to-back A-Sun postseason honors (2012 A-Sun Freshman of the Year, 2013 All-Conference Second Team), ninth-seeded Bao begins his junior season motivated to post another winning record, with this weekend’s performance paving the way. As a sophomore Bao compiled a 13-8 dual record and ranked seventh in the A-Sun with a No. 2 singles winning percentage of .571. Bao is set to dual John Nowak of FAU at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday.
Tsamas on Top
After leading the Atlantic Sun with 15 singles wins and a .857 winning percentage in the spring of 2013, senior Dean Tsamas enters his final year at FGCU determined to build on the 33 dual-match singles wins he has racked up. Tsamas is set to face Florida A&M’s Nubian Jean-Charles at 9 a.m. on Thursday in the round of 64.
Leave ‘em at Love Lvovsky
Finishing last season ranked in the A-Sun top 10 for winning percentage in both No. 4 singles (.571) and No. 5 singles (.429), senior Lance Lvovsky (Dania, Fla./Broward Virtual School/Jacksonville) is ready to make an impact for the Eagles both on and off the court. Lvovsky takes on Florida A&M’s Admire Mushonga at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday in the first round.
Game Time for Gabriel
After suffering a season-ending injury in the spring of 2012 which kept him out of last year’s fall tournaments, senior Gabriel Echeverry (Popayan, Colombia/Gimnasio Calibio) returns to the fall tour circuit ready for a challenge during his fifth and final season. Echeverry will face the tournament’s No. 16 seed in conference foe Yannick Zurn of UNF on Thursday at 9:45 a.m.
From Bench to Baseline
After utilizing a redshirt last season, redshirt freshman Chris Perrigan (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay HS) is eager to begin playing for FGCU, hoping to duplicate the success of his high school career. The Tallahassee, Fla. product played No. 1 singles for two years at Maclay High School and was ranked as high as No. 186 nationally and No. 26 in the state. Perrigan hits his first serve for the Eagles against Stetson’s Laurynas Antropikas at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday.
How The West Was Left
Sophomore Lucas Vaz, a transfer from Tulsa, which finished 2013 ranked No. 25, joins the Eagles after playing a trio of singles matches, including a No. 3 slotted match against No. 37 Minnesota, during his rookie season. The Soa Paulo, Brazil native once held a No. 625 ITF Junior Ranking and a No. 1421 ATP Ranking. Looking to become a leading contributor for the Eagles, Vaz will don the Green and Blue for the first time in his round of 64 match against Reece Acree of UCF at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.
Reid It and Weep
Rounding out the group as the Eagles only true freshman is Adrian Reid (Lima, Peru/Altair School). The newcomer’s list of accolades includes a No. 14 rank in Peru’s men’s open division, wins over two top-100 International Tennis Federation (ITF) players and an appearance in the 2011 Casely International Championships Finals. Reid will start his collegiate career at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday as he takes on FSU’s Grayson Goldin.
V is for Victory
Leading FGCU into the doubles draw is the eighth-seeded duo of Vives and Vaz. The similarities between the two players extend far beyond the common first letter of their last name. Both Vives and Vaz are international players who transferred to FGCU from ranked schools after playing and handful of singles matches. The pair takes to the court for the first time Thursday at 5:30 p.m. to take on Chris Barrus and Reece Acree from UCF.
From Least to Greatest
The roster’s most experienced college player joins forces with the roster’s least experienced college player as the doubles pair of Reid and Echeverry take on Bethune-Cookman’s Anthony Grady and Walid Gtari Thursday at 5:00 p.m.
CP and TB
The Eagles third and final first-time combination of Chris Perrigan and Tiyanu Bao take to the court for their match against Chester Espie and Simon Julin from Stetson, Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
The veteran couple of Tsamas and Lvovsky held a 4-6 record together in dual matches last season and won two matches together during the fall of 2012. Hoping to capitalize on their combined six years of college experience, the pair is set to face Inaki Espindola and Riaan Du Toit from UCF Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
For complete coverage of FGCU men’s tennis at the Bedford Cup, follow us on Twitter @FGCU_MTEN and visit www.FGCUAthletics.com where full recaps and results will be available at the end of each day.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Thursday, September 26:
First Round Singles - begins at 9:00 a.m.
Second Round Singles – begins at 12:30 p.m.
First Round Doubles – begins at 5:00 p.m.
Friday, September 27:
Singles Round of 16
Doubles Round of 16
Saturday, September 28:
Sunday, September 29: