FORT MYERS, Fla. – Earning a program-record six Atlantic Sun Conference wins while securing the No. 3 seed in next weekend’s A-Sun Championship, the FGCU men’s tennis team claimed its first-ever victory over Stetson, in dramatic fashion, beating the Hatters, 4-3, on Senior Day in The Nest. Posting the match-clinching point for the Green and Blue was Tianyu Bao finding victory in a strenuous three-set match in the No. 2 position.
The Eagles improve to a program-best 11-9 (6-2 A-Sun) on the regular season, while the Hatters fall to 10-9 (5-3 A-Sun).
“What an incredible Senior Day,” head coach CJ Weber said. “I’m so happy for this bunch of guys, especially our three seniors. They’ve been through a lot in the last three years and it’s because of their leadership that we have been able to develop this program into what it is today! They’ve earned the No. 3 seed for all their hard work, not just this season, but over their entire careers.”
The Eagles took an early lead after claiming two of the doubles matches for a 1-0 advantage. Earning their 13th win of the season were Jordi Vives (Barcelona, Spain/IES Ferran Tallada/USC) and Dean Tsamas (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS) with a dominant 8-2 defeat of Stetson’s Laurynas Antropikas and Chester Espie in the No. 1 slot. Clinching the doubles point were Bao (Tianjin, China/Bayshore HS) and Lance Lvovsky (Dania, Fla./Broward Virtual School/Jacksonville) coming out on the up end of a close match against Nathan Debut and Hans Adrian Riseng, 8-7 (7-2).
To begin singles play, three matches quickly finished bringing the score to a knot at two each. After FGCU losses in the four-and-five slots, Tsamas pulled the Eagles back even with a no-nonsense win at No. 3 singles. Needing just two sets to end the match against Simon Julin, the senior left his opponent blank in the first and took the second, 6-3. The win marks the 61st is Tsamas’ career, the most of any player in FGCU’s Division-I history.
Joining his doubles partner to post a point for the Green and Blue was No. 65 Vives, finding victory after a three-set contest against Nathan Debut in the leading position. After dropping the opening set, 4-6, Vives bounced back to take the second, 6-3, and the third, 6-4.
Although the Eagles needed just one more point for the overall victory, the contest was really either teams to win as the overall score was tied, 3-3, and the final match was utilizing lengthy tiebreaks and had extended into a third set.
With Bao taking the first set a narrow, 7-6 (7-4), Stetson’s Laurynas Antropikas fought back to even the score with a 6-4 win of the second. Bao, who provided the match-clinching win in last season’s dramatic victory over Oklahoma State, is no stranger to having all eyes on him, which aided in his ability to perform well in the high-pressure moments that defined the final set. To begin the third, the two stayed on serve forcing a tiebreak at six all. With the intensity the highest it had been all seaon, the junior powered through the deciding points for a win at 7-6 (7-3), resulting in an uproar of celebration by every member of the Green and Blue.
“Bao saw the best two match points anybody could play,” Weber said. “First in doubles he played like he was the only one on the court, then in singles, after a long rally, he just cranked it up and executed being aggressive!”
The Eagles return to action as they travel to the A-Sun Championship as the No. 3 seed, April 17-19 in Jacksonville. 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: 4 Stetson: 3
1. Dean Tsamas/Jordi Vives (FGCU) def. Laurynas Antropikas/Chester Espie (STET) 8-2
2. Tianyu Bao/Lance Lvovsky (FGCU) def. Nathan Debut/Hans Adrian Riseng (STET) 8-7 (7-2)
3. Adrian Reid/Lucas Vaz (FGCU) def. Simon Julin/Graham Ball (STET) 8-4
Order of finish: (1,3,2)
1. #65 Jordi Vives (FGCU) def. Nathan Debut (STET) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
2. Tianyu Bao (FGCU) def. Laurynas Antropikas (STET) 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-6 (7-3)
3. Dean Tsamas (FGCU) def. Simon Julin (STET) 6-0, 6-3
4. Cahit Kapukiran (STET) def. Lucas Vaz (FGCU) 6-3, 6-2
5. Graham Ball (STET) def. Lance Lvovsky (FGCU) 6-3, 6-2
6. Chester Espie (STET) def. Gabriel Echeverry (FGCU) 6-0, 6-4
Order of finish: (5,4,3,6,1,2)