Defending back-to-back NCAA Champion Bulldogs survive in 5-2, win
ATHENS, Ga. (Feb. 6, 2009) - For over two hours the No.37-ranked ETSU men's tennis team gave back-to-back NCAA Champion Georgia all they wanted and more. However, ETSU's upset bid fell just short as the third-ranked Bulldogs railed back after losing the doubles point dropping the Bucs 5-2, Friday night at the Hopkins Indoor Tennis Center in Athens, Ga.
"I was proud of how I guys competed today," said head coach Yaser Zaatini. "Georgia is one of the top programs in the country and you never like to lose, but I thought our players played hard and gave it our best effort."
ETSU (1-3) started the contest with a bang, sweeping all three doubles matches for the early 1-0 lead. The Bucs jumped out early as the ETSU duo of freshman Robin Asker (Ornskoldsvik, Sweden) and junior Daniel Isaza (Medellin, Colombia) won the first doubles contest by defeating Drake Bernstein and Javier Garrapiz, 8-5. ETSU followed that match up as seniors Alex Ahlgren (Tyreso, Sweden) and Enrique Olivares (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela) rallied to shock 40th-ranked Jamie Hunt and Nate Schnugg, 8-6, giving the Bucs the doubles point. Not to be outdone the Bucs duo of sophomores Charles Bottoni (Bois Guillaume, France) and Grega Teraz (Mojstrana, Slovenia) made ETSU three-for-three in pairs competition dropping Georgia's Christian Vitulli and Borja Malo, 8-7.
As singles play started Georgia (4-0) opened play by knotting the score at 1-1, after No. 35-rankend Jamie Hunt defeated ETSU's Grega Teraz 6-2, 6-2 in the No. 3 singles draw. Georgia took its first lead of the match as Borja Malo squeaked by ETSU sophomore Matej Zlatkovic (Ljubljana, Slovenia) 6-1, 7-6 to close out the No. 4 singles contest.
ETSU looked like it might get back in the match as No. 9-ranked Enrique Olivares took an early one-set lead in the No. 1 singles draw against No. 18-ranked Nate Schnugg. However, Schnugg, the defending NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, rallied back in the final two sets taking the contest 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, giving the Bulldogs a 3-1, advantage. Georgia would go on to clinch the match after Javier Garrapiz closed out ETSU's Charles Bottoni, 6-2, 6-4. Each squad would split the remaining two singles contests as ETSU's Sander Gille (
"It was good to see us start the match on a positive note winning the doubles point," said Zaatini. "That gave us a chance to get out in front and build some momentum early. Enrique lost a tough three-set match and Sander again played well. Georgia, being the two-time NCAA Champion, has some good teams and so even though we fell short in our singles matches this is something our guys can build on as we move forward."
ETSU returns to action in its first home match of the season as the Bucs welcome in-state rival Middle Tennessee, Feb. 19.
1. Oliveras/Ahlgren def. #40 Hunt/Schnugg (UGA) 8-6
2. Bottoni/Teraz def. Vitulli/Malo (UGA) 8-7
3. Akser/Izasa def. Bernstein/Garrapiz (UGA) 8-5
1. #18 Nate Schnugg (UGA) def. #9 Enrique Oliveras (ETSU) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
2. Javier Garrapiz (UGA) def. Charles Bottoni (ETSU) 6-2, 6-4
3. # 35 Jamie Hunt (UGA) def. Grega Teraz (ETSU) 6-2, 6-2
4. Borja Malo (UGA) def. Matej Zlatkovic (ETSU) 6-1, 7-6
5. Drake Bernstein (UGA) def. Alex Ahlgren (ETSU) 6-1, 6-2
6. Sander Gille (ETSU) def. Josh Varela (UGA) 6-4, 6-3
For more information on the ETSU men's tennis program please visit www.ETSUBUCS.com.