COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 10, 2008) - Sixth time is a charm. The 41st-ranked ETSU men's tennis team made history today as they advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament defeating Notre Dame, 4-2 at the Stickney Tennis Center at Ohio State University. With the victory the Bucs extend their season one more match and improve to 24-3 overall while the Fighting Irish end their season at 16-11.
The Bucs struck early claiming a 1-0 lead as they captured the doubles point. The duo of Enrique Olivares (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela) and Sebastian Serrano (Cartagena, Colombia) dropped Andrew Roth and Santiago Montoya, 8-4 in the No. 2 slot while Oscar Posada (Valencia, Venezuela) and Alex Ahlgren (Tyreso, Sweden) defeated Brett Helgeson and Sheeva Parbhu, 8-6 in the top position to give the Bucs the early advantage. The match in the No. 3 position featuring Lisandro Picardo (Mar del Plata, Argentina) and Daniel Isaza (Medellin, Colombia) was suspended with the score at 7-7.
"We really picked it up today in doubles. We got down early in the three but they came battling back and helped buy us some time so that we could clinch in the No. 1 and No. 2. Winning the doubles was crucial for us," said head coach Yaser Zaatini.
ETSU then jumped out to a 3-0 lead winning two singles matches in straight sets. Lisandro Picardo started it off for the Bucs keeping his unbeaten spring intact defeating Steven Havens in the fourth position, 6-3, 6-3. Senior Predrag Burmazovic (Belgrade, Serbia) extended the lead 3-0 as he dropped Andrew Roth, 6-1, 6-2 in the No. 3 slot.
Notre Dame continued battle and closed the match to 3-2 picking up victories in the No. 6 and No. 1 positions. Daniel Isaza fell to Daniel Stahl in the No. 6 position, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 while No. 57 Enrique Olivares fell to No. 44 Brett Helgeson, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in the No. 1 position.
The Bucs continued to fight and it came down to two seniors Sebastian Serrano and Oscar Posada. Both seniors were in their third sets but it was Serrano who clinched the victory for ETSU defeating No. 111 Sheeva Parbhu, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.
"This is the highest ranked win we've ever had and beating No. 26 Notre Dame is beyond my wildest expectations. The seniors helped keep us in it the whole match and it was quite amazing to seem them come full circle," said Zaatini.
None of the four seniors - Picardo, Burmazovic, Posada and Serrano - lost a match today. Posada's match was called while he was on serve in the third set.
"I still don't believe it. Sebastian played the longest match ever. To beat Notre Dame is just unbelievable, it's amazing," said Picardo.
"It's amazing we were only thinking about winning this first round. I was so focused and then it just all got so complicated and it's just amazing that I had the opportunity to clinch the match. None of the seniors wanted to lose today and none of us did and I just think it's amazing that we pulled it out," said Serrano.
The Bucs will now look to continue making history as they take on host-university and second overall seed Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA Championships.
"Right now we just have to sit down and see what our goals are. We want to sit down and have a great dinner and refocus and talk about what we want to do tomorrow. We want to go all the way to Tulsa but Ohio State is a tough team. Hopefully we will come out tomorrow and give them all they can handle," said Zaatini.
"It's an incredibly tough match but we have already played some tough matches this season. It's going to be a battle but I think we are ready for this. After this win we have a lot of confidence and we are ready to play with them," said Picardo.
The match is set to begin at Noon. For live stats click here or the link above. For all ETSU men's tennis action visit www.ETSUBucs.com.
#41 ETSU4, #26 Notre Dame 2
No. 1- #44 Brett Helgeson (ND) def. #57 Enrique Olivares (ETSU) 6-4, 3-6, 7-5
No. 2- Sebastian Serrano (ETSU) def. #111 Sheeva Parbhu (ND) 6-4, 6-7, 6-4
No. 3- Predrag Burmazovic (ETSU) def. Andrew Roth (ND) 6-1, 6-2
No. 4- Lisandro Picardo (ETSU) def. Stephen Havens (ND) 6-3, 6-3
No. 5- Oscar Posada (ETSU) vs. David Anderson (ND) DNF
No. 6- Daniel Stahl (ND) def. Daniel Isaza (ETSU) 1-6, 6-3, 6-1
No. 1- Ahlgren/Posada (ETSU) vs. Helgeson/Parbhu (ND) 8-6
No. 2- Olivares/Serrano (ETSU) def. Roth/Montoya (ND) 8-4
No. 3- Isaza/Picardo (ETSU) vs. Havens/Davis (ND) 7-7 DNF