Eagles Men's Tennis Ranked 9th in Final ITA Poll
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast University men’s tennis team finished in the top-10 for the first time in school history in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) team rankings that were released this morning. The Eagles finished their 2005 campaign with a 19-5 overall record, which included a trip to the NCAA Championships in the first season of post-season eligibility.
The team accomplished several historic milestones this season. The 19 victories established a new school record and the team won their first NCAA tournament match over Eckerd College in the South Regional. On April 11, FGCU knocked off their highest ranked opponent when it topped then No. 4 Lynn University, 5-4, at the FGCU Tennis Complex. In the following week’s rankings, the Eagles jumped to 7th in the poll, which was the first top-10 ranking for the program. FGCU also knocked off eventual Final Four participant Armstrong Atlantic State, 5-4, on March 18.
Over the course of the season, FGCU never lost back-to-back matches. The team started the season 3-0 before suffering its first setback against Kentucky, which advanced to the Division I Regional finals and finished ranked No. 15, on February 27. The Eagles went on to post a five-match and a six-match winning streak during the regular season.
Senior Richard Stemnowski (Cape Coral, Fla.) finished his career as the most prolific player in school history with 67 wins and a No. 6 national ranking to earn his second straight ITA All-American honors. Stempnowski and doubles partner Jose Pastrello (Limiera, Brazil) ended the year as the No. 13 doubles tandem nationally, just missing all-america honors.
In the NCAA Division II championship tournament, the Eagles knocked off 16th-ranked Eckerd, 5-1, in the South Region opening round before falling at No.3 ranked and top-seed Barry University, 5-3, in the South Region final.