Men’s tennis prepares for weekend showdown of unbeatens with No. 71 Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bucs, Hatters and Eagles all enter the weekend 2-0 in A-Sun action

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 22, 2012) – The ETSU men’s tennis team opens the home portion of the A-Sun schedule this weekend when it battles two undefeated conference foes in No. 71 Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast at the Buddy Hartsell Tennis Center.

The Bucs will take on their sixth ranked team of the season on Friday when they play the Hatters, before welcoming the FGCU Eagles on Saturday. First serve for each match is scheduled for 11 a.m.

ETSU (4-8, 2-0 A-Sun) got the conference season started on the right note last weekend in Jacksonville, Fla., coming back to Johnson City with a perfect 2-0 A-Sun record. The Bucs first defeated Jacksonville on Friday in a 7-0 sweep, and took down North Florida on Saturday in a 4-3 thriller. With last weekend’s victories, ETSU has now won four matches in a row after dropping the first eight to start the season.

As a result of last weekend’s victories in Jacksonville, senior Jeremy Bonnevalle (Keerbergen, Belgium) was named A-Sun Player of the Week. Bonnevalle went 2-0 in both singles and doubles action while extending his team-leading singles winning streak to five in the process. Bonnevalle’s biggest performance of the weekend came on Saturday against UNF, when the senior saved a match point against Pedro Davisson at No. 4 singles with ETSU trailing the Ospreys 3-2. The senior rallied to eventually defeat Davisson 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, tying the match at 3-3, before fellow classmate Sander Gille (Kuringen, Belgium) finished off UNF with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win against Daniel Sotomarino.

Stetson (11-2, 2-0 A-Sun) will be a tough challenge for the Bucs as the Hatters are in the midst of a five-match winning streak – including eight of their last nine matches. The Hatters began the five-match streak on March 10 with a 6-1 defeat of Georgia Southern, and have since defeated Cleveland State, Youngstown State, Bradley and Mercer.

In spite of Stetson’s streak, it dropped from No. 59 in last week’s ITA poll down to No. 71 in the week’s version. Stetson entered the ITA rankings on March 6 at No. 70.

Maksim Levanovich leads Stetson with an 11-1 singles record this spring. Levanovich has won his last seven singles matches, with all 12 of his contests coming at the No. 1 singles position. Stetson’s leader in singles wins is also 10-3 this year in doubles action, where he teams with Chester Espie primarily in the No. 2 hole.

Florida Gulf Coast (5-4, 2-0 A-Sun) enters the weekend winners of three of its last four matches. The Eagles began conference play on March 1 with a 5-2 victory over Kennesaw State at the FGCU Tennis Complex, and earned its second A-Sun win in its most recent outing with a 4-3 defeat of Mercer last Thursday.

Dean Tsames leads the Eagles this spring with a 6-2 singles dual record. Tsames is 4-2 when playing at the No. 3 position and 2-0 at the No. 4. Tianyu Bao has also been impressive for the Eagles as of late, riding a three-match winning streak having won seven of his last 10 matches.

Last year, FGCU and Stetson visited the Buddy Hartsell Tennis Center on March 25 and 26, respectively, with the Bucs taking down the Eagles 7-0 and defeating the Hatters 6-1.

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