SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Mar. 17, 2011) - The ETSU men's tennis team found themselves in a hole early after losing the doubles point, but the Bucs recovered in singles play by winning five of the six matches to defeat Harvard, 5-2, on the opening day of the Hilton Mission Valley Spring Classic held at the University of San Diego.
"The guys fought extremely hard against a really solid team," said ETSU Director of Tennis Yaser Zaatini. "It seemed like everything was going our way because of the way the guys were fighting. Tomorrow should be a very tough test but today we were able to pull one out that we desperately needed against a team of their caliber."
The Bucs move to 9-5 on the season and have now won five matches in a row. In addition, ETSU will now advance to the winner's bracket of the event. With the loss, Harvard falls to 7-7 on the season and will now move to the consolation bracket.
ETSU fell behind early after dropping the doubles point. The day started with the Harvard team of Aba Omodele-Lucien and Casey MacMaster knocking off Grega Teraz (Mojstrana, Slovenia) and Charles Bottoni (Bois Guillaume, France) at the No. 1 position, 8-4. The Bucs evened the match back up just a few minutes later as Sander Gille (Kuringen, Belgium) and Jesus Bandres (Caracas, Venezuela) defeated Andy Nguyen and Alistair Felton, 8-6. Harvard took the 1-0 lead; however, as Joshua Chan and Jonathan Pearlman got past Juan Ramirez (Asuncion, Paraguay) and Robin Akser (Ornskoldsvik, Sweden), 8-6.
The Bucs got off to a commanding start to singles play as they quickly tied the match back up as Bottoni rolled past Nguyen, 6-4, 6-3, at the No. 4 position. Then, ETSU took its first lead of the day after Bandres defeated Omodele-Lucien in straight sets at the No. 3 position, 7-6, 6-3.
ETSU continued its strong play at the No. 5 position as Ramirez downed MacMaster, 6-1, 7-6. Teraz clinched the victory for the Bucs at the No. 1 position as he knocked off Pearlman, 7-5, 6-2. ETSU added another win as Gille earned a hard fought victory over Felton, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4.
ETSU will now take on either No. 20 San Diego or UAB on Friday depending on results from Thursday's matches. The time and location of Friday's match will be determined after all matches are completed on Thursday.
The tournament event will be played at both San Diego State and the University of San Diego. The winner's bracket will be held at SDSU and the consolation bracket will be held at USD for Friday and Saturday. Match times are scheduled for 1:00 p.m. (EDT) and 5 p.m. (EDT) each day.
Hilton Mission Valley Spring Classic features eight teams from across the country including three teams ranked in the latest ITA poll. The top half of the bracket features, No. 20 San Diego, Alabama-Birmingham, ETSU, and Harvard. The bottom half features, San Diego State, No. 53 Princeton, No. 67 Purdue and Denver.
For more information on ETSU men's tennis please go to ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's tennis link. Also, be sure to follow ETSU Athletics on Facebook and Twitter.
East Tennessee State 5, Harvard 2
Hogan Tennis Center, San Diego, Calif.
(1) Omodele-Lucien (HU) def. Teraz/Bottoni (ETSU) 8-4
(2) Gille/Bandres (ETSU) def. Nguyen/Felton (HU) 8-6
(3) Tchan/Pearlman (HU) def. Ramirez/Akser (ETSU) 8-6
Order of finish: 1, 2, 3*
Harvard wins doubles point.
(1) Grega Teraz (ETSU) def. Jonathan Pearlman (HU) 7-5, 6-2
(2) Sander Gille (ETSU) def. Alistair Felton (HU) 6-7, 6-3, 6-4
(3) Jesus Bandres (ETSU) def. Aba Omodele-Lucien (HU) 7-6, 6-3
(4) Charles Bottoni (ETSU) def. Andy Nguyen (HU) 6-4, 6-3
(5) Juan Ramirez (ETSU) def. Casey MacMaster (HU) 6-1, 7-6
(6) Joshua Chan (HU) def. Roger Ordeig (ETSU) 6-1, 5-7, 10-6
Order of finish: 4, 3, 5, 1*, 2, 6
East Tennessee State- 9-5