LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. – Four tournaments and 99 matches later, The FGCU men’s tennis team will conclude its fall season at the highly anticipated Dick Vitale Lakewood Ranch Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic this weekend at the Lakewood Ranch Country Club.
“We couldn’t be more excited to close out our fall season with such a prestigious event,” head coach C.J. Weber said. “The competition is going to be extremely tough, but it will bring an incredible opportunity for us to learn a lot more about ourselves, especially since we’re playing on clay.”
Making their debut in the notorious event, the Eagles couldn’t end their fall campaign with a better opportunity as this weekend’s 32-member singles draw and 16-pair doubles draw list FGCU amongst some of the best in the NCAA. Highlighting the competitive nine-team tournament roster is reigning NCAA Champion Virginia, ITA ranked No. 8 Pepperdine, No. 16 Florida and No. 20 Memphis.
Laying The Foundation
While the Green and Blue is set to play in the most competitive draw they’ve seen so far, the four tournaments leading up to this weekend have done nothing but prepare them as they have played 29 matches against a high-major opponent, walking away victorious in over half of them. Furthering their readiness, the team spent time over the past two weeks practicing away from the hard courts on campus and onto a clay court as the competition stage at Lakewood Ranch is different from that of a standard collegiate tournament.
Giving the Eagles an aura of confidence was their winning performance in last month’s FGCU Fall Invite. Picking up a total 19 wins, the Eagles swept the main draws for the second consecutive year as Jordi Vives (Barcelona, Spain/IES Ferran Tallada/USC) and Tianyu Bao (Tianjin, China/Bayshore HS) united to take the doubles title before Vives proceeded on the claim the singles title.
One More Time
Between fall tournaments to train for the regular season and job interviews to better their futures, for the team’s three seniors preparation has been the defining characteristic of this semester. Entering the last guaranteed tournament of their collegiate career, the trio isn’t looking to hold anything back. Gabriel Echeverry (Popayan, Colombia/Gimnasio Calibio) begins singles play looking to upset the tournament No. 1 seed with a first-round match against Stefan Piro of Florida. Co-captains Dean Tsamas (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS) and Lance Lvovsky (Dania, Fla./Broward Virtual School/Jacksonville) will take on David O’Leary of Memphis and Duke’s Bruce Semenzato, respectively.
With two tournament titles under his belt, Vives leads the Eagles into the weekend looking to shine like he has already done this season. After beating a list of major players from FSU, Miami, UGA, Arkansas and Boston College, competition against top opponents are all in a day’s works for Vives. Looking to break on some of the nation’s best and extend his 9-2 fall record, Vives’ first serve of the weekend will go to UNF's Jack Fidel-Hawkins on Friday.
Bao Chicka Wow Wow
While playing his best tennis of the fall season at the FGCU Invite, Bao picked up three wins in straight sets over high-major opponents and played what Weber dubbed “his best set ever” to open the finals. He looks to keep that momentum up, beginning with a first-round singles match against No. 8 seed Johnny Grimal of Memphis.
Step One Completed
After playing their first matches wearing the Green and Blue, Lucas Vaz (Sao Paulo, Brazil/Colegio Fleming/Tulsa) and Chris Perrigan (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay HS) have used their first fall tour as the building block for a successful career at FGCU. Looking to finish their inaugural season strong, Vaz will start singles play with a match against fifth-seeded Fredrick Ask of Arizona, while Perrigan takes on Princeton’s Zack McCourt.
Two For The Show
Kicking off the weekend with doubles play, three pairs of Eagles will hit their first serves on clay Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. The duo of Lvovsky and Bao take on Princeton’s Mohamed El Tonbari and Zack McCourt, while Perrigan and Tsamas face Arizona’s Fredrick Ask and Keiren Thompson and Vives and Vaz square off against Johnny Grimal and Jarryd Woog of Memphis.
For complete coverage of FGCU men’s tennis over the weekend, 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.
Friday, November 8:
9 AM - First Round Doubles
NOON - Men's First Round Singles
4 PM - Second Round Singles Main Draw & Consolation
6:30 PM - Doubles Quarterfinals
Saturday, November 7:
Play begins at 9 a.m.
9 AM - Semifinals Doubles
NOON - Singles Quarterfinals Main Draw & Consolation
4 PM - Singles Semifinals Main Draw & Consolation
Sunday, October 27:
NOON - Singles Championship
*Doubles Finals TBA
*Consolation Singles Finals TBA