GREENVILLE, S.C. (April 25, 2015) - The top-seeded ETSU men's tennis team defeated No. 4 Samford, 4-1, Saturday in Greenville, S.C., to advance to the title match of the Southern Conference Men's Tennis Championship.
The Bucs (16-7) will square off against second-seeded Furman Sunday, April 26 at 2:00 p.m., in the title match.
ETSU charged out of the gate in doubles Saturday, earning wins at the second and third spots.
Ismael Merino (Lima, Peru) and Robert Herrera (Barcelona, Spain) teamed up to clinch their 11th-consecutive win, winning at No. 2 Doubles, 8-3, to start the match. Conner Huertas (Lima, Peru) and Diego Nunez (Monterrey, Mexico) followed suit, defeating Samford's Fares Kilani and Justin Ghavami, 8-6.
At the top doubles spot, David Biosca (Sant Fruitos de Bage, Spain) and Rogerio Ribeiro (Sao Paulo, Brazil) were leading, 5-2, when the Bucs clinched the doubles point.
In singles play, the Bulldogs pushed three matches to three sets; however, the Bucs earned wins at No. 1, No. 5, and No. 6 to clinch the 4-1 victory.
"I believe we pulled one out of a magic hat today," ETSU head coach Yaser Zaatini said. "Our go-to guys came through, and we played great doubles to start the match. Samford threw everything they had at us and we barely managed to pull it out."
With ETSU holding a 1-0 match advantage following doubles play, Herrera captured a win at No. 5 Singles; however, Samford countered with a victory at the No. 3 spot.
Wins by Merino and Biosca put the finishing touches on ETSU's victory, with Biosca's win at No. 1 coming in three sets, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
The remaining matches, No. 2 and No. 4, were each in the third set, with Samford leading at both.
"We struggled, but managed to find a way," ETSU assistant coach Ricky Rojas said. "It was a clutch win."
With the win, ETSU advanced to the title match of the SoCon Championship. The Bucs will square off with second-seeded Furman Sunday, April 26 at 2:00 p.m., in Greenville, S.C., on the campus of Furman University.
"The guys did a great job wanting this win," Zaatini said. "Now we have to recover and get ready for work tomorrow."
ETSU will be looking to clinch a ninth-consecutive NCAA Tournament berth.
ETSU 4, Samford 1
1. David Biosca (ETSU) def. Fares Kilani (SAM) 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
2. Rogerio Ribeiro (ETSU) vs. Austin Akers (SAM) 6-4, 1-6, 0-4, unfinished
3. Trey Carter (SAM) def. Diego Nunez (ETSU) 6-4, 6-3
4. Conner Huertas (ETSU) vs. Justin Ghavami (SAM) 5-7, 6-1, 1-4, unfinished
5. Robert Herrera (ETSU) def. E. Lourido Sanchez (SAM) 6-3, 6-0
6. Ismael Merino (ETSU) def. Jake Faundez (SAM) 6-4, 7-6 (7-2)
1. David Biosca/Rogerio Ribeiro (ETSU) vs. Jake Faundez/Trey Carter (SAM) 5-2, unfinished
2. Ismael Merino/Robert Herrera (ETSU) def. Austin Akers/Henry Moore (SAM) 8-3
3. Conner Huertas/Diego Nunez (ETSU) def. Fares Kilani/Justin Ghavami (SAM) 8-6
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (5,3,6,1)
SoCon Men’s Tennis Championship
Sunday, April 26 – at Furman
No. 1 ETSU vs. No. 2 Furman
For additional information on the Southern Conference Men's Tennis Championship, visit SoConSports.com by clicking here.
FOLLOW THE BUCS