FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU men’s tennis team began play in the Atlantic Sun Conference falling 5-2 to a talented North Florida team on Sunday afternoon at the FGCU Tennis Complex.
The Eagles drop to 0-1 in Atlantic Sun play, and move to 3-6 on the season, while UNF improves in 1-0 in conference play and 4-8 overall.
“Today was a tough day,” head coach CJ Weber said. “I knew we were going to get UNF’s best and they did a great job of imposing their game on us, especially in doubles. As the cliché goes, we will learn from today’s loss and get better, but UNF taught us we need to be more disciplined in high-pressure moments.”
The Ospreys lived up to their reputation of solid doubles play as both of their nationally-ranked pairs took a match from the Eagles, with an 8-4 result. Playing the No. 1 slot for FGCU were Jordi Vives (Barcelona, Spain/IES Ferran Tallada/USC) and Dean Tsamas (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS) suffering a defeat to No. 38 Jack Findel-Hawkins and Norbert Nemcsek. The three doubles match could have been promising for the Green and Blue as Lucas Vaz (Sao Paulo, Brazil/Colegio Fleming/Tulsa) and Chris Perrigan (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay HS) were up 30-love and on serve at five games all with Zach Goldberg and Mark Hamill, but a UNF win by No. 50 Caio Gomes and Yannick Zuern in the No. 2 match allowed the Ospreys to clinch the doubles point.
To begin singles play UNF took the first two matches for a 3-0 lead, but the Eagles showed they weren’t to be dismissed, winning the next couple matches in straight sets to put them back in contention for the overall win.
Posting the Green and Blue’s first victory of the afternoon was No. 54 Vives taking the one-singles match from Findel-Hawkins, 6-3, 6-2. Simultaneous to Vives finish, Tianyu Bao (Tianjin, China/Bayshore HS) claimed a win in the second set of the No. 2 match, forcing a third set on Gomes to keep the Eagles alive. While Bao was battling through the deciding set, his doubles partner, Lance Lvovsky (Dania, Fla./Broward Virtual School/Jacksonville), brought the Eagles their second win, topping Goldberg 6-2, 7-5, in the No. 5 slot, to move the score to 3-2.
With the crowd shifting focus back to Bao on court eight, the intensity and volume of the Tennis Complex resembled that of an upbeat Friday night, not a Sunday afternoon. With both Bao and Gomes knowing the result of their match had a huge impact on the overall contest they each held nothing backed bringing dangerously-fast serves and powerful ground strokes into the final points. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Gomes played with just a bit more shot accuracy than Bao, taking the third set 6-3, to clinch the match for UNF.
Even though the Ospreys had already secured their victory, the No. 6 match between Gabriel Echeverry (Popayan, Colombia/Gimnasio Calibio) and Bernardo Craveiro continued on. After Echeverry took the first set 6-3, Craveiro fought back winning the second 6-2. With the final match entering a third set the bond shared by the nine members of the FGCU men’s tennis team resonated strongly as each of them passionately cheered on Echeverry as if a positive result in his match would give the team an overall victory. With the 10-point tiebreak going point-for-point, Echeverry broke several strings of his racquet at the halfway mark and couldn’t quite get the momentum going again resulting in a win for Craveiro at 1-0 (11-9).
The Green and Blue will get back to the baseline as they host Wright State on Mar. 5 at 5 p.m. For complete coverage of FGCU men’s tennis this season, follow us on Twitter @FGCU_MTEN and visit www.FGCUAthletics.com where full recaps and results will be available.
FGCU: 2 UNF: 5
1. #54 Jordi Vives (FGCU) def. Jack Findel-Hawkins (UNF) 6-3, 6-2
2. Caio Gomes (UNF) def. Tianyu Bao (FGCU) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
3. Norbert Nemcsek (UNF) def. Dean Tsamas (FGCU) 6-2, 6-3
4. Yannick Zuern (UNF) def. Lucas Vaz (FGCU) 6-1, 6-2
5. Lance Lvovsky (FGCU) def. Zach Goldberg (UNF) 6-2, 7-5
6. Bernardo Craveiro (UNF) def. Gabriel Echeverry (FGCU) 3-6, 6-2, 1-0 (11-9)
Order of finish: (4,3,1,5,2,6)
1. No. 38 Findel-Hawkins/Nemcsek (UNF) def. Tsamas/Vives (FGCU) 8-4
2. No. 50 Gomes/Zuern (UNF) def. Bao/Lvovsky (FGCU) 8-4
3. Goldberg/Hamill (UNF) def. Perrigan/Vaz (FGCU) DNF
Order of finish: (1,2)