KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 14, 2004) - The East Tennessee State University men's tennis team fell to the No. 54 ranked University of Tennessee in a 4-3 decision in the last second on Saturday night at UT's Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center. The Bucs' record now stands at 4-2.
"This match shows how close we are to great SEC teams," stated head coach Yaser Zaatini. "Tennis is not a game of inches, but we were a point away from beating a team that went on to the National Championships twice."
UT began the match by winning the doubles point defeating the teams of Diego Iglesias (Mar del Plata, Argentina) and Moisés Serrano (Bucaramanga, Columbia) 8-5 in the No. 2 slot and Fernando Fiuri (Villa Maria, Argentina) and Felix Insaurralde (Asunción, Paraguay), No. 3.
In singles action, freshman Oscar Posada (Valencia, Venezuela) defeated Damien Spizzo in straight sets to tie the team score 1-1. The dead lock was short-lived, however, as the Vols' Ben Rogers put together a 6-2, 6-2 ousting of Buccaneer junior Serrano to give the Vols a 2-1 advantage.
Senior Iglesias outlasted Ockie Oosthuizen in three sets, resulting in another team-score tie at 2-2. But moments later, Kiril Tcherveniachki netted a win over Fiuri to tip the scales in UT's favor.
"Once again Diego demonstrated great leadership with his hard fought victory at No. 3," said Zaatini.
All eyes then turned to the battle in progress at the No. 1 position, where Buccaneer senior Alejandro Salazar (Arequipa, Peru) had split sets with No. 64-ranked Simon Rea. The two veterans played themselves into a dramatic third-set tiebreaker, in which Rea was able to defeat Salazar 2-6, 6-0, 7-6(5) to clinch the match for UT.
Zaatini stated, "Alejandro also showed leadership on the courts. He lost a heartbreaking match and never gave up."
"I'm not satisfied with the loss, but I'm extremely proud of how the seniors and newcomers played against the No. 54 ranked team."
The Bucs move on in their spring schedule for a pair of matches. They will face Wake Forest on Feb. 20 and North Carolina Sate on Feb. 21.
No. 54 Tennessee 4, ETSU 3
1. #64 Simon Rea (UT) def. Alejandro Salazar (ETSU) 2-6, 6-0, 7-6
2. Oscar Posada (ETSU) def. Damien Spizzo (UT) 6-2, 6-3
3. Diego Iglesias (ETSU) def. Ockie Oosthuizen (UT) 6-7, 6-2, 6-2
4. Ben Rogers (UT) def. Moisés Serrano (ETSU) 6-2, 6-2
5. Kiril Tcherveniachki (UT) def. Fernando Fiuri (ETSU) 6-1, 6-2
6. Felix Insaurralde (ETSU) def. Matt Berry (UT) 6-3, 6-4
1. Oscar Posada/Alejandro Salazar (ETSU) vs. Simon Rea/Ben Rogers susp. ETSU led 6-5
2. Ockie Oosthuizen/Damien Spizzo (UT) def. Diego Iglesias/Moises Serrano (ETSU) 8-5
3. Dietrich/ Orr (UT) def. Fernando Fiuri/Felix Insaurralde (ETSU) 8-1