JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 23, 2012) -- In a clash of Atlantic Sun unbeatens, the ETSU men's tennis team prevailed with a convincing 5-0 victory over No. 71 Stetson on Friday at the Buddy Hartsell Tennis Center.
With the win, ETSU (5-8, 3-0 A-Sun) has now won five-consecutive matches including its first three in conference play. On the other side of the coin, Stetson (11-3, 2-1 A-Sun) saw its five-match winning streak come to an end with its first loss in conference play after starting the A-Sun season with two home wins.
"We fought hard in singles play and I thought the doubles win gave us the momentum to get through and give us the win," Director of ETSU Tennis Yaser Zaatini said. "I was afraid of a letdown after the victory against North Florida, but the team played well enough to get this one.
"On the other side, we're still a little weak in doubles and we're not playing solid tennis all the way around. We're having issues with energy and clicking as a team, and we're not playing to our potential."
The day did not start all too well for the Bucs as Chester Espie and Maksim Levanovich gave the Hatters the advantage for the doubles point. The Stetson duo got the action rolling by defeating ETSU's No. 2 doubles team of Jeremy Bonnevalle (Keerbergen, Belgium) and Juan Ramirez (Asuncion, Paraguay), 8-2.
It was the only bright spot for the Hatters on the day.
ETSU responded at No. 1 doubles with a win from Sander Gille (Kuringen, Belgium) and Robin Akser (Ornskoldsvik, Sweden), 8-3, over Njal Stene and Hans Adrian Riseng, and then finished off the doubles point with a 9-7 set win at No. 3 as Jesus Bandres (Caracas, Venezuela) and Rogerio Ribeiro (Sao Paulo, Brazil) took out Nathan Debut and Didrik Berg.
The Buccaneers carried the doubles momentum into singles action, winning each of the four completed matches while also leading the two which remained unfinished due to inclement weather.
Gille was the first to complete his match, defeating Stene 6-1, 6-3 at the No. 2. Ramirez then put ETSU up 3-0 with another convincing win by defeating Berg 6-1, 6-2. With the Bucs a point away from clinching a 3-0 start in A-Sun play, Ribeiro pulled through with ETSU's third straight set victory of the match by defating Debut 6-1, 6-1 at No. 5.
Bonnevalle's No. 4 match was the only other to finish, as the senior took down Riseng with his team-leading sixth-consecutive singles win, 6-2, 6-1.
Bandres and Roger Ordeig (Gurb, Spain) were each leading their matches at No. 1 and No. 6, respectively, but could not complete them before the rain started to fall. Bandres led Levanovich in the midst of a match tiebreak 5-7, 6-3, 0-0 (3-2), while Ordeig was a game away from another ETSU straight setter with the score 6-1, 5-3 against Espie.
ETSU will put its 3-0 A-Sun record on the line Saturday, when it welcomes the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles to the Buddy Hartsell Tennis Center at 11 a.m.
For more information on ETSU tennis, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the tennis links.