JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – After dropping a tight doubles point, the sixth-seeded FGCU men’s tennis team couldn’t recover, as they fell to third-seeded Stetson, 4-0, on Friday afternoon in a quarterfinal match at the Atlantic Sun Championships at the Buddy Hartsell Tennis Courts on the campus of ETSU.
"Stetson came out today and really took it to us," said first-year coach C.J. Weber. "The boys fought hard, but we were always clawing from behind and it was just too much to overcome. If we got the doubles point, we could have made the match more interesting. I'm really proud of what this team accomplished this season. I think everybody affiliated with the program this season can walk away with their heads held high."
FGCU ends the season at 7-10 (4-5 A-Sun) in its first-ever appearance at the A-Sun Championships. Stetson (17-4, 7-2 A-Sun) moves on to play second-seeded No. 58 North Florida on Saturday, April 21 at 11 a.m.
The Green and Blue lost two doubles matches to fall behind 1-0 in the match. At No. 2 doubles, sophomore Dean Tsamas (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS) and junior Jackson Moore (Bradenton, Fla./Lakewood Ranch HS/Georgia State) fell to Maksim Levanovich and Chester Espie, 8-2. The Hatters clinched the point with a tough 9-8 (7-5) win from Njal Stene and Hans Adrian Riseng against senior Matthew Rock (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Fort Lauderdale HS/Jacksonville) and sophomore Lance Lvovsky (Dania,Fla./Broward Virtual School/Jacksonville) at No. 1 doubles.
In the final doubles match, the freshmen team of Michael Beiler (Palm Harbor, Fla./Dunedin HS) and Tianyu Bao (Tianjin, China/Bayshore HS) were tied 7-7 against Didrik Berg and Nathan Debut, at No. 3 doubles, when the match was called due to the Hatters having clinched the point.
In singles, Stetson took a 2-0 lead after Debut defeated Rock in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 4 singles. Stene defeated Tsamas, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 2 singles to give the Hatters a 3-0 lead.
With the Eagles down 3-0, the A-Sun Player of the Year Levanovich took down the Freshman of the Year Bao, 6-4, 6-1, at No. 1 singles to clinch the victory for Stetson.
Three FGCU players went unfinished in its matches as in postseason play the first team to secure four points wins the match. Moore was leading the second set 4-1, but lost the first set 6-4 against Berg, at No. 3 singles. Lvovsky was trailing Riseng, 6-1, 5-3, at No. 5 singles and Beiler was down 7-5, 3-2, at No. 6 singles.
Under first-year head coach C.J. Weber, the Green and Blue doubled their win total from a season ago with seven victories this year. Bao became the first Eagle to be honored as the A-Sun Freshman of the Year, and joined Beiler as the program’s first All-Freshmen team selections. FGCU returns five of its six starters in the singles lineup in hopes of a return trip to the A-Sun Championships next season.
Stetson 4, FGCU 0
Atlantic Sun Championships Quarterfinal Match
1. Maksim Levanovich (STET) def. Tianyu Bao (FGCU) 6-4, 6-1
2. Njal Stene (STET) def. Dean Tsamas (FGCU) 6-3, 6-2
3. Jackson Moore (FGCU) vs. Didrik Berg (STET) 4-6, 4-1, unfinished
4. Nathan Debut (Stetson) def. Matt Rock (FGCU) 6-3, 6-2
5. Hans Adrian Riseng (STET) vs. Lance Lvovsky (FGCU) 6-1, 5-3, unfinished
6. Chester Espie (STET) vs. Michael Beiler (FGCU) 7-5, 3-2, unfinished
1. Hans Adrian Riseng/Njal Stene (STET) def. Matthew Rock/Lance Lvovsky (FGCU) 9-8 (7-5)
2. Didrik Berg/Nathan Debut (STET) def. Jackson Moore/Dean Tsamas (FGCU) 8-2
3. Maksim Levanovich/Chester Espie (STET) def. Michael Beiler/Tianyu Bao wn (FGCU) 7-7, unfinished
Florida Gulf Coast University 7-10, 4-5 A-Sun
Stetson 17-4, 7-2 A-Sun Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (4,2,1)
Atlantic Sun Quarterfinals No. 3 Stetson vs. No. 6 Florida Gulf Coast T-2:55