ETSU seals 10th-consecutive victory to clinch regular season championship
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 18, 2015) - In a matchup of the Southern Conference's lone unbeaten teams, No. 68 ETSU prevailed Saturday, defeating Furman, 4-0, to clinch the Southern Conference regular season title, marking the 14th-consecutive year the program has captured either a regular season or tournament championship.
"These boys are so resilient, and they just want to keep the tradition going," ETSU head coach Yaser Zaatini said. "I'm just extremely proud of being a Buccaneer and trying to carry that flag.
"The boys are so filled with pride just by knowing what they can achieve," Zaatini continued. "Getting to this moment and seeing everything pay off, being able to wear the gold and blue, and being able to lift another trophy means the world to them."
The Buccaneers (14-7, 7-0 SoCon), winners of 10 consecutive matches, began the day by sweeping doubles play with wins at all three spots.
Conner Huertas (Lima, Peru) and Diego Nunez (Monterrey, Mexico) finished first, winning at No. 3, 8-2. The duos of Rogerio Ribeiro (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and David Biosca (Sant Fruitos de Bage, Spain), and Ismael Merino (Lima, Peru) and Robert Herrera (Barcelona, Spain) each earned 8-7 victories at No. 1 and No. 2 Doubles, respectively.
Herrera and Merino have teamed up to win a team-best, 10 consecutive doubles matches. The tandem has gone unbeaten (10-0) since falling at No. 72 Georgia Tech Jan. 31.
Straight-set singles wins by Biosca and Merino then extended ETSU's lead to 3-0 before Ribeiro, a co-captain, clinched the victory with a 6-3, 7-6 (5) win at No. 2 Singles.
Biosca has now won a team-best, nine straight matches. Meanwhile, Merino and Ribeiro are in the midst of eight-match win streaks in singles play.
While ETSU's win versus the Paladins (7-15, 5-1 SoCon) was a highlight, Zaatini and the Buccaneers will shift their focus to the upcoming Southern Conference Men's Tennis Championship, which will be held April 24-26 in Spartanburg, S.C. (quarterfinals) and Greenville, S.C. (semifinals and final).
"We understand this is a joyous moment, and we are very excited about this achievement, yet, next week, we just have to wake up Monday and get back to work," Zaatini said. "They want to go to nationals, so they are going to work hard and be ready to play."
By beating Furman Saturay, ETSU clinched the top seed in the tournament.
"I think that it is no secret that we have a strong team and that everyone is going to throw there best at us," Zaatini said. "And that is the way it should be. Every single team will pose challenges. Furman, for instance, is an unbelievably talented team with big hitters and big servers who pound the ball.
"We just have to stay on our toes and keep working," Zaatini added. "I think we are ready."
Saturday's victory sealed an unbeaten home campaign for the Bucs (8-0), extending their home unbeaten streak to 18 matches. The Bucs' last home loss came March 23, 2013 to Dartmouth, 4-3.
ETSU has posted a 13-1 record since Feb. 14, with the lone loss coming on the road to No. 5 Georgia.
The Buccaneers have reached the NCAA Tournament each of the past eight seasons.
#68 ETSU 4, Furman 0
1. David Biosca (ETSU) def. Adam Steryous (FUR) 6-4, 6-4
2. Rogerio Ribeiro (ETSU) def. Matt Browne (FUR) 6-3, 7-6 (7-5)
3. Diego Nunez (ETSU) vs. Cameron Green (FUR) 3-6, 6-5, unfinished
4. Conner Huertas (ETSU) vs. Ben Horst (FUR) 6-2, 4-3, unfinished
5. Robert Herrera (ETSU) vs. Jacob Behal (FUR) 4-6, 5-3, unfinished
6. Ismael Merino (ETSU) def. Luke Synn (FUR) 6-2, 6-4
1. Rogerio Ribeiro/David Biosca (ETSU) def. Matt Browne/Ben Horst (FUR) 8-7 (7-5)
2. Ismael Merino/Robert Herrera (ETSU) def. Adam Steryous/Cameron Green (FUR) 8-7 (7-4)
3. Conner Huertas/Diego Nunez (ETSU) def. Jacob Behal/Juan Sheppard (FUR) 8-2
Furman 7-15, 5-1 SoCon
ETSU 14-7, 7-0 SoCon; National ranking #68
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (1,6,2)
The Southern Conference Men's Tennis Championship will be played April 24-26, with the quarterfinals taking place Friday, April 24 in Spartanburg, S.C., and the semifinals and final taking place April 25 and April 26, respectively, in Greenville, S.C.
For more information on the upcoming SoCon Championship, click here.
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