Mercer Tennis Opens A-Sun Play In Sunshine State
Mercer Opens A-Sun Play In Sunshine State
MACON, GA.--The Mercer tennis teams return to the court this weekend, as the Bears open Atlantic Sun play with a pair of league contests in the Sunshine State this weekend. The Bears will open A-Sun play with matches against Florida Gulf-Coast and Stetson.
The Mercer men's tennis team will look bounce back from a 6-1 loss over the weekend to No. 63 Wake Forest. In the loss to the Demon Deacons on Saturday afternoon, the Bears showed competitively at 4-of-6 singles matchups against the battle-tested Atlantic Coast Conference foe.
Mercer picked up its lone point in the road loss at Wake Forest, with Peter Tauscher downing Danny Kreyman in a thrilling individual dual. After dropping the first set 6-2, Tauscher took a 6-3 win to force extra sets. Then, he claimed a 1-0 (10-7) victory in the international scoring format, which decided the individual matchup.
The Bears were competitive at the No. 2, No. 4 and No. 5 singles positions, despite losing in each. At the No. 2 position, Joao Pagan fell, 3-6, 3-6 to Wake Forest's David Hawkins.
Mercer's Vincent DeLise, playing at the No. 4 flight, became the second Bear involved in extra sets thriller against the Demon Deacons, as he saw WFU's Connor Sherwood rebound from a 6-4 opening-set loss to claim a 6-2 win in the second to force the extra set. Once again, the sudden death point was decided in the international format, with Sherwood garnering the 1-0 (10-2) win in rather convincing fashion.
At the No. 5, WFU's Adam Lee held off Mercer's Victor Dias to keep with the theme of the hotly contested singles matchups on Saturday afternoon., Dias put up a solid fight before finally succumbing to Lee, 5-7, 4-6.
Individually for the Bears this season, it has been Peter Tauscher who has held down the No. 1 position solidly in the past couple of matches for the Bears, and is 2-0 playing at the No. 1 this season, while posting a 4-3 overall ledger on the campaign.
The junior native of Bad Voslau, Austria has also posted a 1-1 mark at the No. 2 position, while posting a 1-2 overall mark at the No. 3 flight.
Freshmen Vincent DeLise and Victor Dias also boasts winning individual marks heading into this weekend's conference tilts, as DeLise enters with an overall mark of 4-3 on the season, which includes a 3-1 overall mark at the No. 5 position this season for the Bears, while Dias enters this weekend's proceedings with a 3-2 mark overall on the campaign. Dias has posted his best mark at the No. 6 flight this season, where he has posted a 2-1 mark on the campaign.
Against Florida Gulf-Coast last season, the Bears were able to pick up a solid 7-0 win over the Eagles at the LeRoy Peddy Tennis Center. Current Bears Pierre Tafelski, Peter Tauscher and David Barton all picked up victories for the Bears in singles match play in last year's win.
Tafelski took a 6-0, 6-0 win over FGCU's Matthew Rock at the No. 1 position, while Tauscher was a 6-3, 6-4 winner over FGCU's Steve Benninger at the No. 2. Barton rounded out the victorious effort by winning by default at the No. 6 singles flight.
The Bears squared off against Stetson twice last season, with Mercer taking the regular-season clash, 5-2, in Macon, while the Hatters returned the favor in the Atlantic Sun Tournament by posting a 4-2 victory over the Bears to end Mercer's season in the opening round of the conference tournament. The regular-season win over the Hatters marked the first time since the Mercer University men's tennis team claimed a win over a Stetson team.
Both current team members Tafelski and Barton were instrumental in helping the Bears pick up the win, as Tafelski won a three-set thriller, 6-1, 1-6, 7-5 over Stetson's Cesare Gallo at the No. 1 position, while David Barton was a 6-3, 6-1 victor over the Hatters Erik Halaj at the No. 6.
The Mercer women enter this weekend's action with a 2-4 ovreall mark this season, but haven't played since Mar. 6, which was a 7-0 loss at Chattanooga. The Mercer women had a game scheduled for this past weekend at Georgia State, but the game was cancelled as a result of inclement weather.
The Bears continue to be led by Lucie Payrat, who has a sterling 5-1 overall record this season, with a matching 5-1 mark in doubles play. Payrat has done a majority of her damage at the No. 2 singles position this season, posting a 4-0 mark, while holding a 1-1 mark at the No. 1 position.
In the two matches against FGCU and Stetson last season, the Bears dropped both matches last season, with a heartbreaking 4-3 setback to FGCU, while dropping a 7-0 decision to Stetson.
SCOUTING THE FGCU EAGLES:
Florida Gulf Coast comes into this weekend's action with a 4-4 overall mark and have already claimed a league victory, as the Eagles were 5-2 over Kennessaw State back on Mar. 1.
The Eagles lost their latest match to No. 75 Penn, dropping a 5-2 decision to the Quakers.
The Eagles have already equaled their league win total from last season, as FGCU finished just 1-9 in league play a year ago, with a ninth-place finish in the 10-team race.
The top player for the Eagles this season has been Tianyu Bao, who has posted a 10-6 overall mark this season individually, while holding a 5-3 record in doubles play. Bao has posted a 3-1 record at the No. 1 singles play this season.
The Florida Gulf Coast women's team enters this weekend's against the Bears having posted a 4-6 overall record, while the Eagles have already picked a league victory with a 4-3 win over Kennesaw State back on Mar. 1.
The FGCU women come into their second league encounter of the season having dropped back-to-back matches to Penn (5-1) and No. 70 Virginia Tech (7-0).
The top performer for the FGCU women this season has been Bettina Botha, who enters the matchup with the Bears with an 8-10 record in individual singles play this season, including a 6-3 mark at the No. 5 position.
SCOUTING THE HATTERS:
Stetson enters the matchup ranked No. 59 in the latest ITA men's tennis rankings. Like FGCU, the Hatters have already posted a league victory, with a resounding 6-1 win over Kennesaw State. Overall, the Hatters enter this weekend's action with an 8-2 overall mark and a 1-0 league record.
In their latest outing, Stetson was a 7-0 winner over Cleveland State. Stetson's top player this season has been Maskim Levanovich, who has a 9-1 mark in both singles and dual action this season for the Hatters this season.
Levanovich is coming off Atlantic Sun Player of the Week honors, and his 9-1 mark has all come while playing at the No. 1 position this season. It was the third A-Sun weekly honor that Levanovich has collected in his career. He entered the season as one of the top players in the A-Sun
Like the Stetson men, the Hatter women are off to a strong start once again. The Hatters enter this weekend's action with a 5-1 overall mark and a 1-0 record in league play, picking up a narrow 4-3 win over Kennesaw State in their only league match of the season.
The Stetson women's team comes into the match against the Bears having won three-straight. Stetson picked up a 5-2 win in its latest match against Florida Atlantic, and the Hatters have picked up some wins over some pretty reputable competition this season, including a 5-2 win over the Big Ten's own Michigan State Spartans.
Individually, the Hatters are led by reigning A-Sun Women's Player of the Year Lindsey Cable, who enters with a 6-1 mark at the No. 1 position this season, while posting a 5-2 mark in doubles play. Like her counterpart Levanovich on the men's side, Cable is also the league's reigning A-Sun Player of the Week .