FGCU Men's Tennis Sails Into Region Final
Miami Shores, FL - The Florida Gulf Coast University men's tennis team (19-4) sailed to their first ever win in NCAA Tournament play with a 5-1 victory over Eckerd College (17-7) in the opening round of the Southeast Region-1 Men's Tennis Tournament at Barry University on Friday afternoon.
The fourth-seeded Eagles emerged from doubles play with a 2-1 advantage and fought to three tough victories in singles play to clinch the win.
"Eckerd's a very good team and we knew we were rusty," said FGCU head coach J. Webb Horton, whose team is ranked seventh nationally. "They came at us pretty good."
FGCU's No. 3 doubles team of senior Seth Fogelman (Naples, Fla.) and sophomore Alberto Gutierrez (Bogota, Columbia) earned the Eagles first point in doubles with an 8-3 win over Sanjar Shodieve and Andre Mittag. Junior Juan Carlos Osorio (Quito, Ecuador) and junior Tim Offerman (Hamburg, Germany) followed suit with an 8-3 win over Eckerd's Javier Romero-Barrio and Elmar Koenig at number two. Sebastian Niedermayer and Nikola Vujovic claimed the third doubles point for Eckerd, ranked 16th nationally, with an 8-5 win over seniors Jose Pastrello (Limiera, Brazil) and Richard Stempnowski (Cape Coral, Fla.).
In singles play, Fogelman was the first to put a point in the win column for the Eagles with a 6-4, 6-3 victory at number six to put FGCU up 3-1. Offerman pushed the advantage to 4-1 with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Bryon Kidd in the fifth spot. Osorio locked up the win for FGCU with a three-set victory (0-6,6-3,6-3) over Koening at number three.
"It's great to see the entire team step up and really take care of business even though we had tough matches," said Stempnowski.
FGCU advances to face host and top-seed Barry on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. for the South Region-1 title and a trip to the Sweet Sixteen. The Eagles aren't concerned about fatigue following today's tough match.
"It's the kind of match you want to win," said Horton. "You have to compete hard and stay focused. That should bode well for us. Winning a tough match will only help us tomorrow. We know Barry will be tough and we've played them tough in the past."
1. Richard Stempnowski (FGCU) vs. S. Niedermayer (EC) 2-6,6-4, 2-0 unfinished
2. Jose Pastrello (FGCU) vs. Javier Romero-Barrio (EC) 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 unfinished
3. Juan Carlos Osorio (FGCU) vs. Elmar Koenig (EC) 0-6, 6-3,6-3
4. Alberto Gutierrez (FGCU) vs. Nikola Vujovic (EC) 6-4, 1-2, unfinished
5. Tim Offerman (FGCU) def. Byron Kidd (EC) 6-3, 6-2
6. Seth Fogelman (FGCU) def. Sanjar Shodiev (EC) 6-4, 6-3
1. Niedermayer.Nikola Vujovic (EC) def. Stempnowski/Pastrello (FGCU) 8-5
2. Osorio/Offerman (FGCU) def. Romero-Barrio/Koenig (EC) 8-3
3. Fogelman/Gutierrez (FGCU) def. Shodiev/Andtre Mittag (EC) 8-3