FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Stetson University men’s tennis team completed the 2014 regular season, being narrowly defeated by A-Sun rival Florida Gulf Coast, 4-3, Saturday at the FGCU Tennis Complex. The contest came down to the very final match between No. 2’s Laurynas Antropikas of Stetson and the Eagles’ Tianyu Bao.
With the team score tied at 3-3, Bao put home the winning point in a tie-breaker to take the match 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-6 (7-3) and clinch the victory for FGCU.
Stetson showed tremendous mettle on Saturday, fighting back after dropping two of three doubles matches as Gulf Coast got out to a quick 1-0 lead. The lone victory for Stetson in doubles play, came on court No. 3, when the pairing of Simon Julin and Graham Ball triumphed 8-4, over FGCU's Adrian Reid and Lucas Vaz.
The Hatters then evened the score up in singles play at 1-1 with a 6-3, 6-2 victory from Ball on Court No. 5, and then took the lead with another win, this time courtesy of Cahit Kapukiran on Court No. 4 (6-3, 6-2).
With Stetson leading 2-1, the Eagles evened the score at 2-2 with a win on Court No. 3, but the Hatters surged back regaining the lead (3-2), with a crucial win at No. 6, with Chester Espie’s 6-0, 6-4 decision.
After a valiant effort by Nathan Debut on the No. 1 court (4-6, 6-3, 6-4) vs. No. 65 ranked Jordi Vives, the match stood at 3-3, with Antropikas and Bao still playing on Court No. 2. That’s where the Eagles would take their first match vs. their intrastate rivals in a half a dozen years. Stetson had defeated FGCU six straight times dating back to the 2008 season.
The defeat dropped Stetson to 10-9 on the season and 5-3 in A-Sun play, this was the Hatters’ first conference defeat since Mar. 22 vs. North Florida. SU had previously won four A-Sun matches in-a-row, entering play Saturday.
Next up for Stetson is the A-Sun Championship, scheduled for Apr. 17-19 in Jacksonville with North Florida as the host intuition.