DAYTONA, Fla. – Looking to get back on track with postseason play under a week away, the FGCU women’s tennis team (11-7, 4-4 A-Sun) broke its four-match losing streak with a 5-0 defeat of Bethune-Cookman (13-10, 3-1 MEAC) on Sunday afternoon.
“I am very proud of our first winning season,” said head coach Jennifer Gabou. “Five years ago I inherited a team that was transitioning to Division I and have been waiting for this moment for a while. If we can build on today’s match we could potentially reach our goal in the conference tournament.”
FGCU has secured the No. 5 seed in the A-Sun tournament which will match them up with Stetson in the quarterfinals for a rematch of the dual match that the Hatters won 4-3 on April 13 in DeLand.
The victory over the Wildcats gives the Eagles a program-record 11 wins in Division I, marking the first time FGCU has eclipsed the 10 win mark which was set during the 2012 dual match season.
Vital for the Green and Blue was the double point and the need to start strong. Elizabeth Means (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) and Sarah Means (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) starred in the No. 3 doubles spot by bowling over the competition to win 8-0. To secure the doubles point in the dual match, the No. 2 pair of Johanna Sterkel (Schwtzingen, Germany/Carl-Theodor-Schule HS) and Morgan Bechtel (Toledo, Ohio/St. Ursula Academy) defeated their opposition 8-4. Gyanna Mandic (Oshowa, Canada/Edison Academies) and Bettina Botha (Cape Town, South Africa/De Kuilen HS) completed the doubles sweep for FGCU in a close match in the No. 1 position as they downed Bethune-Cookman’s top doubles duo.
Filling the No. 2 singles spot, Sterkel was the final Eagle to complete her match with a 6-2, 6-1 victory to collect a straight-set triumph.
Bechtel, playing in the No. 4 spot for her singles match, picked up a straight set victory to keep the Green and Blue in control of the dual match just as they had been doing from the start of the day.
A straight-set, 6-3, 6-2, victory from Bettina Botha (Cape Town, South Africa/De Kuilen HS) at the No. 5 singles position gave FGCU the dual match clinching point, putting them up 4-0 with matches still to be completed.
Elizabeth Means collected a 6-4, 6-0 singles victory in the No. 3 spot in an adjusted FGCU lineup to collect the 5-0 dual match victory in favor of FGCU.
The Eagles and Wildcats have met a total of six times with FGCU not having lost to Bethune-Cookman in any of the six dual matches with all six victories having come in decisive fashion.
FGCU will head to Johnson City, Tenn. for the A-Sun Championship tournament hosted by ETSU with the action beginning on Friday, April 19 with the quarterfinal round.
Following the match, results and a recap from the dual match action will be available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com.
FGCU 5, Bethune-Cookman 0
Order of Finish: (2, 4, 5, 3)
1. Sarah Means (FGCU) def. Kajiwara (B-CU) – DNF
2. Johnna Sterkel (FGCU) def. Chinchilla (B-CU) – 6-2, 6-1
3. Elizabeth Means (FGCU) def. Beresiarte (B-CU) – 6-4, 6-0
4. Morgan Bechtel (FGCU) def. Dimitrova (B-CU) – 6-0, 6-0
5. Bettina Botha (FGCU) def. Galyaeva (B-CU) – 6-3, 6-2
6. Zhoe Solaun (FGCU) def. Ifill (B-CU) – DNF
Order of Finish: (3, 2, 1)
1. Gyanna Mandic/Morgan Bechtel (FGCU) def. Chinchilla/Kajiwara (B-CU) – 8-7 (8)
2. Johanna Sterkel/Bettina Botha (FGCU) def. Ifill/Beresiarte (B-CU) – 8-4
3. Elizabeth Means/Sarah Means (FGCU) def. Peterson-Paul/Dimitrova (B-CU) – 8-0