Top seeded ETSU looks for sixth-consecutive A-Sun Championship title

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Men’s tennis looks to add to undefeated A-Sun season with another title

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 19, 2012) – Winners of its last 12 matches, the No. 1-seeded ETSU men’s tennis team begins its quest for a sixth-consecutive Atlantic Sun Championship crown this weekend at the Buddy Hartsell Tennis Center.

ETSU (12-8, 9-0 A-Sun) earned a bye into Saturday’s semifinal with the help of its first undefeated A-Sun season since running the table in 2009. The Bucs await the winner of Friday’s quarterfinal match between No. 4 Lipscomb (9-11, 4-5 A-Sun) and No. 5 USC Upstate (11-9, 4-5 A-Sun), which is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Saturday’s ensuing semifinal is also scheduled for 8:30 a.m.

The remainder of the field has nationally ranked No. 62 North Florida (18-5, 8-1) as the No. 2 seed which earns a bye into the semifinal. The Ospreys await the victor of Friday’s other quarterfinal matchup between No. 3 Stetson (16-4, 7-2 A-Sun) and No. 6 Florida Gulf Coast (7-9, 4-5 A-Sun). UNF’s lone loss during the conference season came against ETSU, 4-3, on March 17 in Jacksonville, Fla. 

After starting the season 0-8, ETSU has stormed back to win its last 12 matches and regain a national ranking of No. 72. ETSU has defeated two ITA-ranked squads during the winning streak, beating then-No. 71 Stetson 5-0 on March 23, and coming away victorious against then-No. 73 Radford 4-0 on April 3.

As a result of last weekend’s 5-2 defeat of USC Upstate in ETSU’s regular season finale, freshman Rogerio Ribeiro (Sao Paulo, Brazil) earned his first collegiate Atlantic Sun Player of the Week honors. Ribeiro defeated the Spartans’ Tyler Grove 6-0, 6-1, completing the regular season with a 20-8 overall record, including a perfect 9-0 mark through A-Sun competition.

Seniors Sander Gille (Kuringen, Belgium), Jeremy Bonnevalle (Keerbergen, Belgium) and Robin Akser (Ornskoldsvik, Sweden) will be playing in their final A-Sun Championship. The senior trio has been an integral part of ETSU’s last three postseason titles, and will look to make it a clean four-year run by going out with both a regular season and championship trophy.

Fourth-seeded Lipscomb heads into Championship play off a 5-2 loss against Stetson last Saturday. The Bison got a big win against Florida Gulf Coast, 4-3, the day before, ensuring their spot in the postseason field.

Against FGCU, Lance Lvovsky won a thrilling match tiebreak against Miguel Cortez, 5-7, 6-4, 1-0 (13-11) with the match tied at 3-3 to lift the Bison to victory. Lipscomb got its three other points from Oliver Strecker at No. 1 singles, Daniel Hernandez at No. 2 singles and Stuart Tierney in the No. 6 slot.

USC Upstate enters its first-ever A-Sun Championship as the No. 5 seed. The Spartans ended the regular season with a 5-2 loss against the Bucs at the Buddy Hartsell Tennis Center, but won their two prior matches against Kennesaw State and Mercer at home to earn their first trip into the field of six.

Gonzalo Blanco led the way through USC Upstate’s A-Sun season, finishing with a 7-2 conference record while posting a spring singles mark of 13-6. Blanco plays primarily as the Spartans’ No. 3 in singles, holding a record of 8-3 in such matches this year.

During its undefeated run through the 2012 A-Sun season, ETSU downed Lipscomb 7-0 in Nashville, Tenn., on March 30, and USC Upstate 5-2 on Senior Day in Johnson City, Tenn., last Saturday.

Live stats will be available for all ETSU matches throughout the entire 2012 A-Sun Tennis Championships courtesy of ETSUBucs.com.

For more information on ETSU tennis, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the tennis links.

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