@FGCU_MTEN Looks To Ace ITA Regional Championships
Thursday, October 10, 2013 | by Sara Roberts (@Saraannerob)
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Co-Captain Dean Tsamas leads group into the weekend
Co-Captain Dean Tsamas leads group into the weekend

ATLANTA – Two tournaments into a fall season marked by a program-first Bedford Cup quarterfinals appearance, a pair of inaugural collegiate wins and one singles draw champion title, the FGCU men’s tennis team looks to extend the success of its fall campaign as it sends four members to the ITA Southeast Regional Championships at Georgia Tech’s Ken Byers Tennis Complex Friday through Tuesday. 

The five-day event will feature a singles main draw, a doubles main draw and a consolation singles draw. The tournament will open Friday with 36 players vying for eight open spots in the singles main draw, which will begin on Saturday along with the doubles main draw.

Joining FGCU in The ATL are Bethune-Cookman, Central Florida, Florida, Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, Miami, South Florida and Atlantic Sun foes Kennesaw State, Mercer, North Florida and Stetson.

“I’m looking forward to continue on the momentum we started to build last weekend with the other guys at Georgia Southern,” head coach C.J. Weber said. “This weekend, being one of our premier fall tournaments, is a great opportunity to compete against the best of the region.”

LET’S REVIEW 

2012 ITA SOUTHEAST REGIONALS
Slating nine players in last year’s championships, the Eagles picked up seven singles wins but remained winless in doubles. After losses in the round of 64 led to an early FGCU exit from the main singles draw, Jordi Vives (Barcelona, Spain/IES Ferran Tallada/USC) and Dean Tsamas (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS) advanced to the singles consolation round of 16 while Tianyu Bao (Tianjin, China/Bayshore HS) led the Green and Blue with an appearance in the singles consolation quarterfinals.

2013 Bedford Cup
The round of 16 in last month’s fall opener marked a number of FGCU tournament firsts as teammates Vives and Tsamas squared off in the Sunshine State capital. While the Eagle vs. Eagle battle meant one of the two remaining FGCU players wouldn’t advance to the next round, it guaranteed a representation of the Green and Blue in the quarterfinals for the first time. After a tremendous display of Eagle character by both, Vives took the match 6-2, 6-2, but fell in the quarterfinals 6-3, 6-4.

CORE FOUR

Viva Vives
Holding a 2-1 fall record, Vives enters the regional battle aiming to duplicate the deep advancement he saw last tournament. Vives, who will be seeded anywhere from No. 9-16, will begin Friday with a spot in the main draw round of 64 where he will face one of the eight winners from the qualifying draw.

“We’re expecting to do great things this weekend as a team,” Vives said. “We’ve been working hard and we’re ready. Individually I just want to play good tennis and enjoy every second on the court.”

Bao Boom
Looking to pick up his third singles win of the fall season, Bao will take on Miami’s Diego Soto in the main draw round of 64 at Noon on Saturday.

“It’s going to be a very competitive tournament,” Bao said. “All of the top Division I schools from both Florida and Georgia are going to be there, but we expect to fight hard and represent ourselves and FGCU well on the court this weekend.” 

Captain D
Team Co-Captain Tsamas enters his last ITA Regional with a 2-1 record and is looking to make his final trip to the southeastern battle one to remember. The senior will begin his weekend with a main draw round of 64 match against William Albanese of Miami Saturday at 9:30 a.m.  

“I’m excited about competing with the best guys from the southeast and showing everyone what FGCU can do at this level,” Tsamas said. “The team has been working very hard in preparation, and we’re ready for this opportunity. I’m looking forward to bringing back some hardware with us. It’s going to be an awesome weekend.”

Lock it Up Lucas
For sophomore Lucas Vaz (Sao Paulo, Brazil/Colegio Fleming/Tulsa) this weekend is an opportunity to collect his first singles win of the fall season. He begins his quest Friday with a match in the qualifying draw against Jake Bouchillon of Kennesaw State, determined to secure a spot in the main draw.

PERFECT PAIRS

Two W’s for the Two V’s
Leading the Eagles with two doubles wins is the duo of Vives and Vaz. Playing together for the first time in the Bedford Cup, the pair effortlessly beat UCF’s Chris Barrus and Reece Acree 8-3 in the first round, put an 8-4 win over Lobelo and Garavito from B-CU in the second round but fell 8-4 in the quarterfinal to the No. 1 seeded pair of Nemcsek and Findel-Hawkins of UNF. The two aim to keep the momentum going as they face Eric Diaz and Nick Wood of UGA on Saturday night.

Underdogs?
More like over the Dawgs. That’s the mindset first-time doubles partners Tsamas and Bao have adopted as they team up to take on the ITA ranked No. 2 pair of Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland from UGA on Saturday night.

For complete coverage of FGCU men’s tennis at the ITA Southeast Region Championships, follow us on Twitter @FGCU_MTEN and visit www.FGCUAthletics.com where full recaps and results will be available at the end of each day.

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

Friday, October 11:
Play begins at 8 a.m.
Singles qualifying round of 32
Singles qualifying round of 16 (8 winners into main draw)
Singles back draw round of 16

Saturday, October 12:
Play begins at 8 a.m.
Singles main draw round of 64
Doubles round of 32
Doubles round of 16
Singles back draw round of 32

Sunday, October 13:
Play begins at 8 a.m.
Singles main draw round of 32
Singles main draw round of 16
Doubles quarterfinals

Monday, October 14:
Play begins at 9 a.m.
Singles main draw quarterfinals
Singles main draw semifinals
Doubles semifinals

Tuesday, October 15:
Play begins at 9 a.m.
Singles main draw finals
Doubles finals