FORT MYERS, Fla. – Backed by strong doubles play and intense singles matchups, the FGCU men’s tennis team fell just short of upsetting SMU as it fell 4-3 to the Mustangs Friday night at the FGCU Tennis Complex. The Eagles move to 0-3 on the season while SMU improves to 2-1.
“This team will figure out how to win these close matches,” head coach CJ Weber said. “We have an unbelievable group of guys who work hard and do things the right way. This loss hurts, but it’s the beginning of a new season and we will still stay on course. We look forward to getting ready for UCF this week.”
The Eagles took an early lead after claiming two of the doubles matches for a 1-0 advantage. Earning their first home win of 2014 were Tianyu Bao (Tianjin, China/Bayshore HS) and Lance Lvovsky (Dania, Fla./Broward Virtual School/Jacksonville) with a 6-3 victory over Nate Lammons and Alex Sanders. Picking up the second win to clinch the doubles point were Jordi Vives (Barcelona, Spain/IES Ferran Tallada/USC) and Dean Tsamas (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS) with a 6-3 defeat of Arturs Kazijevs and Mischa Nowicki in the No. 1 slot.
Vives and Tsamas continued on to post the remaining two points for the Eagles through singles play. Earning a win in the No. 1 slot was No. 66 Vives downing Sanders 6-2, 6-5 (4). Vives’ victroy puts him on a 12-match win streak, which is currently the longest in the nation.
Playing the No. 3 slot, Tsamas earned his first win of the year after posting an incredible comeback in a three-set thriller against Nowicki. After dropping the first set 2-6, Tsamas fought back to take the second 6-5 (5), but the third set was where the show began. Nowicki took control right out of the gate jumping to a 5-1 lead. Showing that he was a force to be reckoned with Tsamas kept fighting and knotted the set at 5-5 forcing a tiebreaker. Staying consistent, Nowicki again jumped to a 6-2 lead but failed to score another point all night as Tsamas came back to win the tiebreak 6-5 (8-6).
Playing the No. 2 slot was Bao, but an irregular Mustang lineup had him matched against SMU’s usual No. 1 player ITA-No. 73 Kazijevs. For the third time this season Bao played a three-set match, but fell to Kazijevs 5-6 (3), 6-3, 6-4.
The Eagles return to action as they host UCF at the FGCU Tennis Complex on Jan. 30 at 2:00 p.m.
For complete coverage of FGCU men’s tennis this season, follow us on Twitter @FGCU_MTEN and visit www.FGCUAthletics.com where full recaps and results will be available.
FGCU: 3 SMU: 4
1. Tsamas/Vives (FGCU) def. Kazijevs/Nowicki (SMU) 6-3
2. Bao/Lvovsky (FGCU) def. Lammons/Sanders (SMU) 6-3
3. Echeverry/Vaz (FGCU) vs Russell/Slobodkins (SMU) DNF
Order of finish: (2, 1)
1. No. 66 Jordi Vives (FGCU) def. Alex Sanders (SMU) 6-2, 6-5 (4)
2. No. 73 Arturs Kazijevs (SMU) def. Tianyu Bao (FGCU) 5-6 (3), 6-3, 6-4
3. Dean Tsamas (FGCU) def. Mischa Nowicki (SMU) 2-6, 6-5 (5), 6-5 (6)
4. Nate Lammons (SMU) def. Gabriel Echeverry (FGCU) – 6-2, 3-6, 6-0
5. Arkidjas Slobodkins (SMU) def. Lucas Vaz (FGCU) 6-4, 6-5
6. Julio Olaya (SMU) def. Adrian Reid (FGCU) 6-2, 6-4
Order of finish: (6, 1, 5, 4, 3, 2)