FORT MYERS, Fla. – Playing in front of an electric crowd of 689 fans, the FGCU men’s tennis team fell to visiting SMU, 6-1, on Saturday night at the FGCU Tennis Complex.
The 689 fans is a program record, as the Eagles hosted a night match for the second straight year. FGCU is now 2-3 in the spring, while the win is the first for SMU (1-4), who had squared off against three ranked programs prior to tonight.
“I want to thank the fans, local community and students for coming out tonight and making it a fun collegiate tennis atmosphere,” said FGCU head coach C.J. Weber. “SMU came out ready to play and they competed extremely well.”
With each team owning a doubles victory, the point came down to the No. 3 slot where the duo of juniors Lance Lvovsky (Dania, Fla./Broward Virtual School/Jacksonville) and Dean Tsamas’ (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS) dropped a hard-fought 8-7 decision, losing 7-4 in the tie-breaker.
All six singles matches were decided in straight sets with sophomore and reigning A-Sun Freshman of the Year Tianyu Bao (Tianjin, China/Bayshore HS-FL) supplying the only FGCU victory. Playing at No. 2 singles, Bao took care of Alex Sanders, 6-4 and 6-4, for his second consecutive straight-set victory of the weekend.
“It was such a great experience to play in front of this crowd,” said Bao. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get the result we wanted, but we fought hard and we couldn’t have done that without this amazing crowd.”
Bao’s win was FGCU’s lone of the night, but both Vives at the No. 1 spot and Lvovsky at No. 5 dropped tough tie-breakers in their opening sets.
“We needed to capitalize on a few tie-breakers that we had that could have changed the momentum of the match. Against a team like SMU, you have to take advantage of those chances, Weber said.”
FGCU will be back in action on Friday, Feb. 15, when it travels up the state to face UCF. The Eagles will stay in Orlando to take on Connecticut on Saturday, Feb. 16.
SMU 6, FGCU 1
Order of Finish: 6, 4, 2, 5, 3, 1
1. Artus Kazijevs (SMU) def. Jordi Vives (FGCU) – 7-6 (5), 6-4
2. Tianyu Bao (FGCU) def. Alex Sanders (SMU) – 6-4, 6-4
3. Pablo Perez-Esnaola (SMU) def. Dean Tsamas (FGCU) – 6-2, 6-5
4. Mischa Nowichi (SMU) def. Dylan Gunning (FGCU) – 6-4, 6-2
5. Nate Lammons (SMU) def. Lance Lvovsky (FGCU) – 7-6 (5), 6-1
6. Eduardo Razzeta (SMU) def. Michael Bieler (FGCU) – 6-0, 6-3
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3
1. Kazijevs/Nowichi (SMU) def. Bao/Gunning (FGCU) – 8-1
2. Vives/Moore (FGCU) def. Sanders/Peets (SMU) – 8-2
3. Lammons/Perez-Esnaola (SMU) def. Lvovsky/Tsamas (FGCU) – 8-7 (4)