SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Mar. 20, 2011) - After dropping a heartbreaker to No. 20 San Diego yesterday, the ETSU men's tennis team rebounded with a strong 5-2 victory over San Diego State, to earn third place at the Hilton Mission Valley Spring Classic on Saturday evening.
"I am extremely proud of the guys for coming out and giving it their all after such a draining match yesterday," said ETSU Director of Tennis Yaser Zaatini. "It was very rewarding to go all the way out to California and get a couple of wins against some solid opponents."
The Bucs move to 10-6 on the season with the victory. ETSU has now won six of its last seven matches.
San Diego State got off to a quick start in doubles play by winning at the No. 1 position. However, the Bucs fought back to win two difficult matches at No. 2 and No. 3, to claim the doubles point. The No. 2 team of Jesus Bandres (Caracas, Venezuela) and Sander Gille (Kuringen, Belgium) defeated Javier Pulgar and Tim Schultz van Endert, 9-7. Meanwhile, the No. 3 team of Juan Ramirez (Asuncion, Paraguay) and Robin Akser (Ornskoldsvik, Sweden) edged Andre Feliz and Jose Sierra Short, 9-7.
"We managed to pull off a tough doubles point after we got down early with a loss at No. 1," added Zaatini. "The No. 2 and No. 3 teams back them up with wins and it was a great team effort in doubles. Juan (Ramirez) twisted his ankle, but he returned to keep the match alive and eventually win at No. 3."
In singles play, the Bucs got off to a slow start after dropping the opening set in four out of the six matches. The Aztecs earned a quick victory at No. 6 to even the match up. However, ETSU got two straight set victories at No. 3 and No. 4 to extend the lead. At No. 3, Bandres rolled past Pulgar, 6-4, 6-4, while Charles Bottoni (Bois Guillaume, France) defeated Hunter Nicholas, 6-2, 7-5, at No. 4.
After the Bucs dropped opening sets at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, senior Grega Teraz (Mojstrana, Slovenia) and Gille each bounced back to take set number two, forcing a deciding third set. Both players won in third set to clinch the match for the Bucs.
"In singles, we lost the first set at No. 1, No. 2, No. 5, and No. 6, and it was looking a little bleak," said Zaatini. But this team is very resilient and they proved they had some left in the tank even after a tough day yesterday."
With the loss, San Diego State falls to 2-10 on the year, while finishing the tournament in fourth place.
No. 20 San Diego, who narrowly defeated ETSU yesterday, won the tournament title after defeating No. 67 Purdue, 6-1 this evening.
The Bucs return to action next Friday and Saturday as they host Florida Gulf Coast and Stetson in key A-Sun matches. Friday's match against FGCU is set for 1 p.m., while Saturday's contest against Stetson will also begin at 1:00.
For more information on the ETSU men's tennis team please go to ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's tennis link. Also, be sure to follow ETSU Athletics on Facebook and Twitter.