DeLAND, Fla. (March 9, 2010) - After being down most of the match, the No. 59 ETSU men's tennis team dug deep Tuesday morning defeating No. 48 UNC Wilmington 4-3 at the Stetson University Tennis Courts in DeLand, Fla.
With the comeback win ETSU has won three straight contests to improve its overall record to 5-6, while the Seahawks - who have dropped their last three matches - fell to 7-4.
"Since I've been at ETSU we've lost some close heartbreaking matches over the years so it's nice today to come out on the other side of things," said head coach Yaser Zaatini. "Early on Wilmington came out strong, which put us in a tough spot, but guys like Grega and Danny simply didn't allow our team to give up and lose."
As play began ETSU found itself down quickly after the Seahawks took two out of three doubles matches.
"Wilmington did a great job playing hard and fast in doubles," said Zaatini. "They are also a defending conference champion so our guys knew after dropping that point that we had to start putting some shots together to stay in the match."
As singles play opened the Seahawks extend their advantage to 2-0 as Michael Pereira dismissed sophomore Sander Gille (Kuringen, Belgium) in straight sets 6-3, 6-2.
ETSU finally got on the board as freshman Jesus Bandres (Caracas, Venezuela) earned a 7-6 (10-8), 6-3 victory over Illia Ziamtsou at No. 4. After Bandres finished fellow classmate Juan-Carlos Ramirez (Asuncion, Paraguay) tied the match at 2-2 with his close 7-6 (11-9), 6-4 win.
"The key for Jesus and Juan-Carlos was their ability to win their first set tiebreakers," said Zaatini. "With us already standing two points down Wilmington could have closed out the win right their if they didn't find a way to to get some points. That really got us going the rest of the match."
With the contest knotted at 2-2, junior Grega Teraz (Mojstrana, Slovenia) found himself in a tough battle at the No. 2 singles position. After easily dropping the first set 6-1, the second-year Buccaneer rallied back to win the second frame 6-2. With the energy swing from one player to the other during the first two sets, the third was the complete opposite with Teraz and UNCW's Kinshuk Sharma failing to break each other's serve. With the third set tied at 6-6, Sharma quickly got the advantage early in the tiebreaker going up 4-0.
However, showing grit and determination Teraz didn't quit as the No. 85 ranked Buc forced back four break points, in addition to his two serves giving him the 6-4 lead. With Sharma's spirit broke, Teraz then closed out the win at 7-4 for the 7-6 third set victory.
"Out of everyone Grega really stood out," said Zaatini. "He's such a talented player that can really do a lot to his opponent throughout a match. That versatility paid off today. Knowing that Jeremy and Danny were in close battles around the same time, it was critical that Grega didn't give up being down 4-0."
After Teraz's significant win, UNC Wilmington stayed alive as Alex Wetherall outlasted sophomore Jeremy Bonnevalle (Keerbergen, Belgium) 7-6, (7-5), 7-6 (7-3) in another close contest at No. 5.
With the match tied at 3-3 all eyes turned to Court 3 as senior Daniel Isaza (Medellin, Columbia) and Kosta Blank competed point-for-point.
After Blank took the first set 7-6 (7-5), Isaza found away to extend the match with a close 7-5 second set win. Like his teammate's contest Isaza and Blank began the third set each holding their own serve until the Seahawk junior held a 4-3 advantage midway through the set. After being down the ETSU senior captain stayed in the match with a rally of his own winning four out of the next five games sealing the ETSU victory.
"As a coach I don't know if I've ever seen so many tiebreakers in a match," said Zaatini. "Today's contest reminder me a lot of our match with Wake Forest last season. The good thing is that unlike that contest, which we didn't find a way to close it out, we had players step up in the clutch"
ETSU returns to action with a 2 p.m. contest Thursday against Atlantic Sun rival Florida Gulf Coast.
For more information on the ETSU men's tennis team please visit www.ETSUBucs.com.