FORT MYERS, Fla. – After opening the spring season in Florida’s capital city, the FGCU men’s tennis team is bringing the show back to The Nest as it welcomes SMU for a dual match under the lights of the FGCU Tennis Complex on Friday at 5 p.m.
“We’re glad to be back on our home courts this weekend to host SMU,” head coach C.J. Weber said. “Our mindset heading into Friday is to continue focusing on the things we emphasized during the fall and so far this spring. The better we get at our principles the more successful we will be.”
SMU enters the weekend at 1-1 after defeating Illinois State, 4-1, and then dropped a 4-1 result to No. 30 Drake to start the season. The Mustangs are led in singles by Arturs Kazijevs, who is currently ranked 10th in the state of Texas and 73rd nationally.Nate Lammons and Alex Sanders are undefeated in doubles in the spring and boast an 11-3 overall record, earning them a No. 8 ranking in the Texas region. Arkidjas Slobodkins, a freshman, has won two straight singles matches at the No. 6 position for the Mustangs.
Hosting the Mustangs for the third straight year, FGCU looks to find its first win over SMU this Friday. In last year’s meeting between the two SMU pulled out a 6-1 victory in front of 689 fans, an FGCU Tennis Complex record. Junior Tianyu Bao (Tianjin, China/Bayshore HS) supplied the only FGCU singles win beating Alex Sanders, 6-4 and 6-4, in the No. 2 slot.
STAR OF THE STATE
Picking up his 11th-straight singles win on Sunday, No. 66 Jordi Vives (Barcelona, Spain/IES Ferran Tallada/USC) further secured his hold of the longest win streak in the state of Florida at the D-I level. Trailing Vives is Florida State’s Christian Gonzalez Mendez with nine. Vives’ 2-0 spring singles record combined with his 103-day unbeaten streak earned him conference honors as he was named Atlantic Sun Player of the Week on Wednesday.
SLOW TO START
The Eagles enter Friday’s contest at 0-2 after falling 6-1 to No. 36 FSU and 5-2 to No. 60 Nebraska. While it wasn’t the start they had hoped for, the Green and Blue were able to take five matches from their ranked opponents over the weekend. Vives picked up singles wins over FSU’s Domonic Cotrone (4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-5)) and Nebraska’s Dusty Boyer (4-6, 6-1, 6-3) while Lucas Vaz (Sao Paulo, Brazil/Colegio Fleming/Tulsa) posted another over NU’s Beau Treyz, 6-1, 4-6, 6-5 (4). The two also saw success in doubles play as Vives partnered with Dean Tsamas (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS) to beat a pair from Nebraska 6-4 and Vaz with Gabriel Echeverry (Popayan, Colombia/Gimnasio Calibio) taking down two Seminoles 6-5 (7-5).
The first 50 students to attend Friday’s match will receive a free FGCU tennis t-shirt upon presentation of an FGCU student ID. For complete coverage of FGCU men’s tennis against SMU, 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.