DeLAND, Fla. – East Tennessee State rallied from behind to defeat Stetson, 4-2, to earn their record fifth consecutive Atlantic Sun Tournament title, Saturday afternoon at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center. ETSU (17-6) won its eighth consecutive match to earn the tournament title. The Bucs earned the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
With the Bucs up 3-2 and just two matches remaining, sophomore Juan Ramirez rallied after trailing in the second set against Alexander Hackett to clinch the victory for the Bucs.
The beginning of the match looked very similar to yesterday’s contest after doubles competition. ETSU started slow for the second straight day after dropping two of the three matches.
Sander Gille and Jesus Bandres picked up the early win for the Bucs as the duo defeated Maksim Levanovich and Didrick Berg, 8-5, at the No. 2 position. However, Stetson took the next two wins to clinch the crucial doubles point. For the second consecutive day after trailing 1-0, the Bucs came out inspired in singles play by taking early leads in the majority of the matches.
One of those early leads belonged to Gille, who was playing at the No. 2 position for the Bucs. The early lead turned out to be very quick victory for the junior as he defeated Njal Stene, 6-0, 6-4, to even the match at 1-1. Gille earned Atlantic Sun All-Tournament honors after a perfect weekend in both singles and doubles.
The Bucs then took their first lead of the afternoon as freshman Roger Ordeig continued his strong play as he defeated Hans Adrian Riseng, 6-1, 6-1, at the No. 6 position.
Just moments later, the Bucs extended their lead as senior Grega Teraz rolled past Levanovich, 6-1, 6-0, at the No. 1 position to put ETSU up 3-1. After the match, Teraz was named A-Sun Tournament MVP for his strong play over the course of the weekend. The Hatters then pulled to within one after Berg earned a three-set victory over Charles Bottoni, 7-6, 2-6, 6-1, at the No. 4 position.
In the clinching match at the No. 5 spot, Ramirez edged Hackett in the opening set 7-6. Then, it was Hackett that got out to an early lead in the second set. Hackett increased his second set lead to 5-3, which looked like he would force a third set. However, Ramirez battled back to win the next four games to earn the victory for the Bucs. Ramirez was later named to the Atlantic Sun All-Tournament Team, joining Gille and Teraz.