FORT MYERS, Fla. – Fueled by wins in the top four singles positions, including a three-set win by sophomore Tianyu Bao (Tianjin, China/Bayshore HS-FL) to clinch the match, the FGCU men’s tennis team battled back to defeat Big XII member Oklahoma State Saturday night at the FGCU Tennis Complex.
The Eagles fell behind 2-0, but took four of the last five singles matches to pick up their second consecutive win over a BCS opponent, just a week removed from a 7-0 sweep of UConn. FGCU is now 4-4 on the season, while Oklahoma State saw its five-match win streak come to an end to slip to 6-3.
“This is an incredible moment for our program,” said second-year head coach C.J. Weber. “These guys have worked so hard to get to this point over the last year and a half, and I can’t think of a more deserving bunch to pull through in front of a good crowd.”
With the match tied 3-3, the final point came down to Bao and Oklahoma State’s Chris Haworth on the No. 2 singles court. Bao took the first set, 7-5, but fell 5-7 in the second set after dropping three straight games to finish. The reigning A-Sun Freshman of the Year regrouped and jumped out to a 5-3 lead in final set before finishing off the 6-4 win. The last three points of the match came on broken serves.
“This is a really big win for our team,” said Bao, who is 4-4 in the spring playing at the top two spots. “The fans and students that came out were great and we enjoy playing in front of them. I tried to stay as disciplined as I could in the third set because I knew both of us were tired. I just kept grinding and I’m really happy it resulted in a win for the team.”
“Bao is a much different player that he was a year ago,” said Weber. “He can play against anyone in the country now and to pull out a win after being the only player left on the court for over an hour takes a lot of guts.”
Bao and Haworth’s match lasted easily over an hour longer than the other five, which all finished in straight sets. Reigning A-Sun Player of the Week Jordi Vives (Barcelona, Spain/IES Ferran Tallada/USC) continued his strong play with a 6-2, 6-4 win at the No. 1 spot and has now given up just nine games in his last two matches. Junior Dean Tsamas (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS) - one of the three Eagles to win A-Sun Player of the Week this spring - ran his spring mark to 6-2 with his third straight win, a 6-2 and 6-2 victory at the No. 3 position.
The combination of Vives, Bao and Tsamas has produced an 8-1 singles record in the top 3 spots in the last three matches and an 11-4 mark over the last five.
Freshman Dylan Gunning (Boca Raton, Fla./Olympic Heights HS) picked up his first win of the dual match season in style with a 6-2 and 6-3 decision at No. 4 singles against Brady Bohrnstedt.
FGCU will be back in action on Friday, March 1, when it hosts Old Dominion at 6 p.m. Follow the team on twitter @FGCU_MTEN.
FGCU 4, Oklahoma State 3
Order of Finish: 6, 3, 4, 5, 1, 2
1. Jordi Vives (FGCU) def. Rifat Biktyakov (OSU) – 6-2, 6-4
2. Tianyu Bao (FGCU) def. Chris Haworth (OSU) – 7-5, 5-7, 6-4
3. Dean Tsamas (FGCU) def. Denys Pume (OSU) – 6-2, 6-2
4. Dylan Gunning (FGCU) def. Brady Bohrnstedt (OSU) – 6-2, 6-3
5. Matt Campbell (OSU) def. Jackson Moore (FGCU) – 6-3, 6-3
6. Oleksiy Arovin (OSU) def. Lance Lvovsky (FGCU) – 6-2, 6-2
Order of Finish: 2, 1
1. Biktyakov/Campbell (OSU) def. Vives/Jackson (FGCU) – 8-4
2. Del Nunzio/Pume (OSU) def. Bao/Beiler (FGCU) – 8-6
3. Arovin/Bohrnstedt (OSU) vs. Tsamas/Lvovsky (FGCU) – DNF