Stetson Slips By Eagles, 4-3
Sunday, February 14, 2010

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU women’s tennis team took to the courts Sunday in the Atlantic Sun's first women's tennis match of the season facing preseason conference favorite Stetson University. The Eagles came up just short, falling 4-3 to the Hatters.

Stetson clinched the doubles point with a win at No. 1 with the nationally ranked team of Galbarini/de los Santos defeating Sweeting/Evans 8-6.

Down 1-0 going into singles play, No. 2 Unnati Purushotham made quick work of freshmen Bibiana Almeida (Porto, Portugal) 6-0, 6-1, while No. 4 Priscillia Villemond (Les Bordes, France) defeated Breanna Atkinson 6-3, 6-3, bringing the score to 2-1 in favor of Stetson. On court No. 5 Shannon Gunning beat Jen Evans (Fort Myers, Fla.) 6-3, 6-1, bringing the Hatters within one point of clinching the match.

"Today our team fought hard until the end. Last year we lost to Stetson 7-0 and to play them this close this year shows our improvement," said head coach Jennifer Gabou. "We've been voted the pre-season number eight team in the conference and to play the top team this tight is a testament to our team's hard work."

Valentina Galbarini then defeated junior Iris Rendon (San Antonio, Tex.) at the No. 1 position 6-3, 6-0, clinching the match for the Hatters. Despite the overall match already being decided, junior Jessica Sweeting (Freeport, Bahamas) rallied to defeat Carolina de los Santos 6-3, 5-7, 10-8, while freshmen Morgan Bechtel (Toledo, Ohio) beat out senior Katherine Nowicki 7-6 (2), 6-4.

"I'm very proud of the way our team competed and fought to the very last point on every court," said Coach Gabou.

The Eagles will be back in action in a home match against Providence on February 28. The match is set for a 1 p.m. start at the FGCU Tennis Complex.

Singles competition
1. Valentina Galbarini (STET) def. Iris Rendon (FGCU) 6-3, 6-0
2. Unnati Purushotham (STET) def. Bibiana Almeida (FGCU) 6-0, 6-1
3. Jessica Sweeting (FGCU) def. Carolina D.L. Santos (STET) 6-3, 5-7, 10-8
4. Priscillia Villemond (FGCU) def. Breanna Atkinson (STET) 6-3, 6-3
5. Shannon Gunning (STET) def. Katharine Evans (FGCU) 6-3, 6-1
6. Morgan Bechtel (FGCU) def. Katherine Nowicki (STET) 7-6 (7-2), 6-4

Doubles competition
1. Valentina Galbarini/Carolina D.L. Santos (STET) def. Katharine Evans/Jessica Sweeting (FGCU) 8-6
2. Breanna Atkinson/Katherine Nowicki (STET) def. Priscillia Villemond/Iris Rendon (FGCU) 8-7 (8-2)
3. Unnati Purushotham/Shannon Gunning (STET) def. Eva Sambrano/Bibiana Almeida (FGCU) 8-4