Bucs effort not enough as Tennessee advances to the Round of 16 with 4-1 win
Senior Daniel Isaza
Senior Daniel Isaza

Sunday, May 16, 2010

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (May 16, 2010) - Despite giving second overall-seed Tennessee all they wanted and more the ETSU men's tennis team couldn't overcome a strong Volunteer squad as the Bucs fell to their in-state rival 4-1 Sunday afternoon during second-round play of the NCAA Tournament inside Goodfriend Varsity Tennis Center in Knoxville.

 

With the loss ETSU ends its season with a strong 16-8 record, while the host Vols improved its mark to an impressive 21-1. Overall, all eight of the Bucs losses came against ITA ranked teams this spring.

 

As the match got underway Tennessee rolled at the No. 3 doubles position as Matteo Fago and Edward Jones defeated senior Daniel Isaza (Medellin, Colombia) and sophomore Robin Akser (Ornskoldsvik, Sweden), 8-2.

 

Meanwhile, at the No. 1 position the Buc junior team of Grega Teraz (Mojstrana, Slovenia) and Charles Bottoni (Bois Guillaume, France) looked strong early against John-Patrick Smith and Davey Sandgren - who is currently ranked third in the country in doubles at the No. 1 position. 

 

After the Buc pair held serve at 6-6, rain suddenly forced play indoors, which in response stopped any ETSU rhythm. As play resumed inside UT regained its form winning the remaining two games and the early 1-0 lead.

 

"Early we just didn't keep it close enough in all the doubles matches," said head coach Yaser Zaatini. "We played good on court one, but we just couldn't find a way to maintain any traction we had. Tennessee is a great program so against teams like them you can't afford to give them any extra chances."

 

Tennessee then added to its advantage as 45th-ranked Rhyne Williams defeated 104th Bottoni at the No. 3 position 6-0, 6-1.

 

The Vols then pushed the score to 3-0 as two-time All-American and the top-ranked singles player in the nation Smith overcame an early scare outlasting Teraz 6-3, 6-2 in straight sets.

 

However, just when it looked like Tennessee would sweep the contest ETSU - like it has all year -- didn't go easy as sophomore Sander Gille (Kuringen, Belgium) took the first set from 36th-ranked Boris Conkic 6-4.

 

After taking the opening frame, the 2010 Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year and Tournament MVP cruised in the second set, 6-1 putting ETSU on the board.

 

With the score at 3-1 the Vols finally closed out the Bucs at the No. 4 position as 111th-ranked freshman Tennys Sandgren finished off Isaza in straight sets 6-2, 6-4.

 

"In singles the biggest differences today was Tennessee's ability to fight back from some break points," said Zaatini. "Grega got up early against Smith and couldn't hold and if Danni could have forced a third-set at No. 4 then I thought Robin and Juan (Ramirez) could have made things very interesting at No. 5 and No. 6. That being said, Tennessee is a very good team and other than Sander doing what he's done all season, our guys just couldn't hit the shots when we needed it."

 

Despite its season coming to an end ETSU had plenty to be proud in 2010. For the fourth consecutive year the Bucs won the A-Sun Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. In addition to those accomplishment and after Saturday's 4-2 win over Alabama, ETSU has now won two NCAA Tournament matches the last three seasons, while placing an indvidual player in the Singles Championship the last three straight seasons. 

 

"I'm just extremely proud of our guys this year," said Zaatini. "The boys fought through a super tough schedule and I can honestly say we really did get the most out of every player this season. You never like to end a season, especially when you lose seniors like we had this year. We can continue to add talent every year, but their spirit and leadership is something we our going to truly miss as we move forward. Now that this fabulous season is over we are going to get some much needed rest and start preparing for 2011."

 

With the win Tennessee advances to take on Louisville during the Round of 16 next Friday.

 

Below are final results of today's match.

 

East Tennessee State vs Tennessee
May 16, 2010 at Knoxville, Tenn.
(Barksdale Stadium/Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center)

Tennessee 4, East Tennessee State 1


 Singles competition
1. #1 John-Patrick Smith (UT) def. Grega Teraz (ETSU) 6-3, 6-2
2. Sander Gille (ETSU) def. #36 Boris Conkic (UT) 6-4, 6-1
3. #45 Rhyne Williams (UT) def. #104 Charles Bottoni (ETSU) 6-0, 6-1
4. #111 Tennys Sandgren (UT) def. Daniel Isaza (ETSU) 6-2, 6-4
5. #116 Matteo Fago (UT) vs. Robin Akser (ETSU) 3-2, unfinished
6. Davey Sandgren (UT) vs. Juan Ramirez (ETSU) 1-1, unfinished

 

Doubles competition
1. #3 John-Patrick Smith/Davey Sandgren (UT) def. Grega Teraz/Charles Bottoni (ETSU) 8-6
2. #12 Boris Conkic/Rhyne Williams (UT) vs. Sander Gille/Jesus Bandres (ETSU) 7-2, unfinished
3. Matteo Fago/Edward Jones (UT) def. Daniel Isaza/Robin Akser (ETSU) 8-2

 

Match Notes:
East Tennessee State 16-8
Tennessee 28-1
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (3,1,2,4)


For more information on the ETSU men's tennis team and its student-athletes please visit www.ETSUBucs.com

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