Bonnevalle saves a match point and Gille clinches to keep ETSU’s perfect A-Sun start intact
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (March 17, 2012) – With the ETSU men’s tennis team down 3-2 to North Florida, senior Jeremy Bonnevalle (Keerbegen, Belgium) saved a match point and rallied to defeat Pedro Davisson 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, before senior Sander Gille (Kuringen, Belgium) completed the ETSU comeback with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win against Daniel Sotomarino to help the Bucs to a thrilling 4-3 victory over North Florida on Saturday at the UNF Tennis Complex.
ETSU (4-8, 2-0 A-Sun) never led throughout the match until Gille broke Sotomarino at 5-4 to lift the Bucs to their fourth-consecutive victory and an A-Sun opening weekend sweep in Jacksonville after taking down JU 6-1 on Friday. North Florida (10-5, 1-1 A-Sun) witnessed its five-match winning streak come to an end, which included wins over then-No. 42 South Alabama (March 12) and then-No. 33 UNC Wilmington (March 13).
“Overall, I think the team was in desperate need of a spark and we got that today with this win,” Director of ETSU Tennis Yaser Zaatini said. "I think North Florida is a top-40 team and for us to get a chance like this and defeat a team that has beat ranked teams like South Alabama and UNC Wilmington is a testament to the caliber of our players. Our team has endured a lot of tough moments this season, but it’s just a matter of believing that you can win and this match illustrated that.”
The day didn’t start out on the positive end as ETSU let the doubles point slip through its fingers. Bonnevalle and Juan Ramirez (Asuncion, Paraguay) gave the Bucs an early advantage with an 8-2 victory over Moritz Buerchner and Beauregard Treyz in the No. 2 match, while Gille and fellow classmate Robin Akser (Ornskoldsvik Sweden) were seemingly in control up 5-2 in the No. 1 match. That lead suddenly vanquished as Sotomarino and Norbert Nemcsek rallied to win six of the last seven games and take the No. 1 set 8-6. Shortly after, UNF stole the point as Leonardo Nahar and Pedro Davisson finished off Jesus Bandres (Caracas, Venezuela) and Jorge Varon (Valencia, Venezuela) 8-4.
The Ospreys took a two-point advantage by winning the No. 1 singles match. Buerchner allowed Bandres just four games in a 6-1, 6-3 decision and UNF took the 2-0 lead.
ETSU responded with the next two points. Freshman Rogerio Ribeiro (Sao Paulo, Brazil) improved to 4-1 this spring with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Graham Edgar to pull in the Bucs’ first point of the day, and Ramirez came back from a set down to defeat Nemcsek 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 to tie the match at 2-2.
UNF retook the lead at No. 5 singles as Nahar came back from dropping his opening set to defeat sophomore Roger Ordeig (Gurb, Spain) 1-6, 6-4, 6-1.
The Ospreys held a 3-2 lead in the match and were a point away from their sixth-consecutive victory before Bonnevalle captured the momentum and turned the tables on Davisson by saving a match point to even the match at 3-3. Gille and Sotomarino were on serve at 4-3 in the third set when Bonnevalle’s match ended, and Gille sealed the victory with a break at 5-4.
The ETSU men’s tennis team opens up the home side of the A-Sun schedule next Friday when it welcomes Stetson to the Buddy Hartsell Tennis Center at 11 a.m.
For more information on ETSU tennis, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s tennis links.