FT. MYERS, Fla. – After becoming the first six seed ever to make it to the ASUN conference championship, the Lipscomb men’s tennis team will have to wait for their first league title after falling 4-2 to FGCU on Sunday afternoon.
FGCU took an early lead with the doubles point with convincing wins at the second and third lines. They carried that momentum over into singles and were able to stave off the Bisons to win the three singles matches need to clinch the championship.
“We got ourselves in another battle but FGCU played a little better than us today,” Lipscomb head coach Mario Hernandez said. “I have to give them a lot of credit and congratulate them on a great year.”
In the two team’s regular season meeting, three matches were decided in three sets. Sunday’s championship matchup proved to be just as competitive with the Bisons holding set advantages at the top three lines and Eagles holding them at the bottom three. However, the Bisons were only able to capitalize on two of those matches.
At the second line, Alejandro Manzanares dropped just one game on his way to a 6-1, 6-0 win over Mateo Ruiz.
Freshman Victor Chaw took his match at the third line with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Oliver Landert.
The wins finished off perfect runs for the two players in singles play during the tournament and earned both spots on the All-Tournament team along with senior Rob Mitchell.
Needing two wins with two matches remaining, Mitchell and Jorge Ortegon entered third sets at their respective lines.
However, after dropping the opening set, the Eagles Felipe Ramirez rallied to win the second and third sets against Mitchell and take the championship for FGCU.
While they dropped all three points in doubles throughout the tournament, the Bisons still found themselves in positions to win. Hernandez attributes that to the close losses during the regular season and their willingness to fight.
A lot of guys made personal strides that they should be proud of,” Hernandez said. “This loss hurts but the coaches are proud of the character this group displayed this year. Things weren't easy and the guys never gave up.”
Despite Sunday’s loss in the championship, Hernandez sees the benefit of playing in the match for the program as a whole.
“It's tough to be so close to winning the conference and to fall just short. However, we now have a taste of what it's like to be in the position to win our conference and it will change the standards we hold in order to ultimately win.”
No. 4 Florida Gulf Coast 4 – No. 6 Lipscomb 2
- Oliver Landert/Felipe Ramirez (FGCU) def. Alejandro Manzanares/Victor Chaw (LIP) 4-2, DNF
- Andres Alfonzo/Ezequiel Cerrini (FGCU) def. Rob Mitchell/Daniel Cardenas (LIP) 6-1
- Javier Fernandez/Mateo Ruiz (FGCU) def. George Wong/Jorge Ortegon (LIP) 6-2
- Felipe Ramirez (FGCU) def. Rob Mitchell (LIP) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
- Alejandro Manzanares (LIP) def. Mateo Ruiz (FGCU) 6-1, 6-0
- Victor Chaw (LIP) def. Oliver Landert (FGCU) 6-4, 7-5
- Ezequiel Cerrini (FGCU) def. Daniel Cardenas (LIP) 6-4, 6-0
- Andres Alfonzo (FGCU) vs. Jorge Ortegon (LIP) 6-1, 5-7, 4-3, DNF
- Javier Fernandez (FGCU) def. George Wong (LIP) 6-1, 6-0