Bucs defeat Mississippi State but fall to Ohio State in final round of qualifying
TULSA, Okla. (October 5, 2011) – The ETSU men’s tennis team played its final day of qualifying at the ITA All-American Tennis Championships on Wednesday afternoon, as senior Sander Gille (Kuringen, Belgium) and junior Jesus Bandres (Caracas, Venezuela) defeated Mississippi State 8-5 but fell to Ohio State 8-4.
With the defeat, Gille and Bandres come up a match shy of advancing out of the qualifying draw.
“We’ll head back with a bitter taste from this tournament,” said director of tennis Yaser Zaatini. “There are a lot of positives we took in knowing we can compete with anybody, but I’m disappointed because there are matches I think we should have taken and we didn’t.”
The day started for ETSU at 1 p.m. when the duo took on George Coupland and Zach White of Mississippi State. Gille and Bandres broke early and held a constant lead through the match, eventually winning the set 8-5.
One last qualifier stood between the Bucs and advancing through to the main draw, a match against Devin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen of Ohio State. The Buckeyes broke ETSU’s serve twice through the first half of the set, but each time Gille and Bandres responded with a break of their own.
With the match back on serve at 5-4, McCarthy and Van Engelen broke ETSU for a third time, except there were no more responses left in the tank. Ohio State held serve to go up 7-4, and put the match away with its fourth break of serve in the set.
“We were just unable to hold on a couple of key games,” added Zaatini. “We broke [Ohio State] a couple of times, but our serve let us down and ended up costing us the match.
“We’ll grow from this and hopefully get better.”
The Bucs will have a chance to do so next Friday, October 14, when they travel to Charlottesville, Va. for the UVA Invitational. It will be the Bucs second trip to Charlottesville, having already competed in the UVA Ranked + 1 Invite earlier in the season.
For more information on ETSU tennis please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the tennis links.