WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (Jan. 29, 2010) - Despite the cold harsh weather outside, play inside the McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center was anything but chilly Friday evening as the ETSU men's tennis team picked up its first win this season with a hard 4-3 victory over host William and Mary.
With the win the victorious Bucs improve to 1-2, while the Tribe fell to 5-4.
"Tonight was an incredible tough match," said head coach Yaser Zaatini. "William and Mary is a talented team that has played close matches against 30th-ranked Norte Dame and 47th-ranked Northwestern this week. Until today they were unbeaten at home so it was a real credit to our guys to come in and get a victory against such a well-coached team. I think one difference for us is the fact that we are deep enough and strong as a team that any of our guys could play up to the No. 3 position in singles. Overall, it feels great but most importantly I'm happy for the players who work so hard every day to get to this point."
ETSU opened play by winning its first doubles point of the season. Playing in the number two position sophomore Robin Akser (Ornskoldsvik, Sweden) and senior Daniel Isaza (Medellin, Columbia) picked up the first win of the day with an 8-6 victory over junior Sebastein Vidal and freshman Jaime Whiteford.
After William and Mary tied the doubles score with a win at No. 3, ETSU juniors Charles Bottoni (Bois Guillaume, France) and Grega Teraz (Mojstrana, Slovenia) closed out the pairs competition and first point with a close 9-8 (7-5) win over Anton Andersson and Keziel Juneau.
"Doubles tonight was the difference in the match," said Zaatini. "If we don't come out and win the early point in a contest this close the obvious answer is that the outcome changes. William and Mary had a chance to serve out the match before the tiebreaker and Charley and Grega were able to stay poised and somehow earn us the point. That saved this win for us."
As singles play got underway ETSU's lead wouldn't last long as Tribe senior Keziel Juneau tied the match at 1-1 after a 6-3, 6-4 win over 89th-ranked Bottoni.
W&M added to its total as Vidal improved to 16-6 on the season with a 6-1, 6-1 straight set victory over 51st-ranked freshman Jesus Bandres (Caracas, Venezuela) to give William and Mary a 2-1 advantage.
Just when it looked like ETSU lost its momentum Teraz - who is ranked 82nd nationally - got the Bucs back on track in his No. 2 singles contest with Whiteford. After a long 7-6 first set win, Teraz cruised in the second for a 6-1 second-set victory over the William and Mary first-year player.
With the match tied at 2-2, sophomore Sander Gille (Kuringen, Belgium) added to the Buc tally with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Andersson at No. 4. The Bucs then closed out the match at 3-2 as Akser finished his strong 6-2, 6-3 straight set triumph over Orre.
"I think one difference for us tonight was the fact that we are deep and strong enough as a team that any of our guys could play up to the No. 3 position in singles," Zaatini said. "Overall, it feels great to get a win and I'm happy for the players who work so hard every day to get to this point."
Sophomore Jeremy Bonnevalle (Keerbergren, Belgium) rounded out the ETSU scores at No. 6, as the Belgium native fell to Adrain Vodiskav 1-6, 6-0, 6-3.
"One thing that I must recognize is the great support the entire athletic department does for our program," said Zaatini. "They allow us to play a lot of road matches against ranked teams early in our season. This exposure has helped ETSU become a renowned program on a national level. We schedule a number of these early contests so the guys can be prepared for conference play later in the season. I know we had some setbacks against two top-20 programs in Louisville and Tennessee, but our players have a great ability in bouncing back. Even when we lose the guys never stopping fighting."
ETSU will now stay in Williamsburg one more day as the Bucs take Elon at noon Saturday.
#60 East Tennessee State 4, William and Mary 3
No. 1 - Keziel Juneau (W&M) def. # 89 Charles Bottoni (ETSU) - 6-3, 6-4
No. 2 - # 82 Grega Teraz (ETSU) def. Jamie Whiteford (W&M) - 7-6, 6-1
No. 3 - Sebastien Vidal (W&M) def. # 51 Jesus Bandres (ETSU) - 6-1, 6-1
No. 4 - Sander Gille (ETSU) def. Anton Andersson (W&M) - 7-5, 6-3
No. 5 - Robin Akser (ETSU) def. Ilja Orre (W&M) - 6-2, 6-3
No. 6 - Adrian Vodislav (W&M) def. Jeremy Bonnevalle (ETSU) - 1-6, 6-0, 6-3
No. 1 - Bottoni/Teraz (ETSU) def. Andersson/Juneau (W&M) - 9-8 (7-5)
No. 2 - Akser/Isaza (ETSU) def Vidal/Whiteford (W&M) - 8-6
No. 3 - Orre/Vodislav (W&M) def. #52 Bandres/Gille (ETSU) - 8-6
For more information on the ETSU men's tennis program, please visit www.ETSUBucs.com.