Men's tennis on to A-Sun Finals, sail by Lipscomb, 4-1
Play Video A-Sun All-Freshman Pabon (above) won on court six and had a flawless 7-0 A-Sun regular season.
A-Sun All-Freshman Pabon (above) won on court six and had a flawless 7-0 A-Sun regular season.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

No. 2 ETSU meets No. 1 UNF Sunday at 1 p.m.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 20, 2013) – An hour from midnight, the ETSU men’s tennis team secured its spot in the 2013 Atlantic Sun Championship Finals, defeating No. 6 seed Lipscomb, 4-1, Saturday at the ETSU Tennis Complex.

ETSU (12-6, 7-1 A-Sun) junior Roger Ordeig (Gurb, Spain) let out the clinching cry on court five, downing Lipscomb’s (10-11, 3-5 A-Sun) Miguel Cortez in a grueling two-hour duel, 6-3, 6-1. Sophomore All-Atlantic Sun First Team member Rogerio Ribeiro (Sao Paulo, Brazil) took a straight-set win at love on court two for the first singles point and redshirt freshman Ricardo Pabon (Bogota, Columbia) locked down the other on court six, 6-3, 6-2, over Colby Shaw.

The chance at a seven-peat comes Sunday at 1 p.m. No. 2 seed ETSU will meet No. 1 seed UNF (15-7, 8-0 A-Sun) for the championship following the conclusion of the women’s final between the No. 1 Lady Bucs and No. 2 Ospreys.

The ETSU and UNF men are meeting to decide the A-Sun title and NCAA Tournament bid for the second year in a row. Last season, ETSU beat UNF, 4-1, from the Bristol Racquet Club. ETSU has won six consecutive A-Sun Tournament Championships and has never lost (6-0) in the finals.

Lipscomb didn’t just hand ETSU Saturday night’s victory. The Bisons came out of the gates hot and took early breaks in doubles. The Bisons earned their spot in the semis by upsetting No. 3 USC Upstate in Friday’s quarterfinals, 4-0, and looked to pull a shocker on the Bucs in front of their home crowd in the facility’s first night match.

It was not to be. The battle-tested Buccaneers stayed composed and got back on serve. Senior Juan Ramirez (Asuncion, Paraguay) and junior Jorge Varon (Valencia, Venezuela) took the first set on court two, edging Oliver Strecker and David Salazar, 9-7. The doubles point was clinched on court three, where Ordeig and Pabon downed Shaw and John Tougher, 8-5.

It was all ETSU in singles early on. Ribeiro made quick work of Salazer at love and ETSU took the first set in five of the six matches. The one Lipscomb set win turned into a point as Stuart Tierney got by Varon on court four, 6-3, 6-1, to put the Bisons on the scoreboard.

Tierney’s victory seemed to spur the Bisons and give them the extra lift they needed. Suddenly, Strecker started to come back on senior Jesus Bandres (Caracas, Venezuela) at No. 1, while Shaw and Cortez gave Pabon and Ordeig all they could handle.

The next momentum shift came with Pabon’s victory on six, leaving Ordeig and Bandres shots at clinching. Bandres was unable to win a match point and Ordeig beat the senior to the punch, finally dispensing of Cortez as the Bucs celebrated a seventh trip to the finals.

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