FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU men’s tennis team fought valiantly in the ASUN title match against Liberty on Sunday but ultimately came up short against the Flames, 4-2. The Eagles finish with a 15-7 record while Liberty advances to the NCAA Tournament with a 13-10 mark.
“It’s really tough to put into words what you feel at the end of the season when your players give you everything they have,” said head coach CJ Weber. “Liberty played extremely well today, and they trusted their games even under important moments of pressure. I feel that was the only way we were going get beat this weekend. The guys fought really hard, but today just wasn’t our day to win . I want to thank all of our supporters today and all year long. FGCU is a very special place to be a tennis coach with such a supportive community around us! something special again for next year! “
The Eagles took the early lead by claiming the doubles point. Sophomore Eric Oncins (Orlando, Fla./Montverde Academy) and redshirt-sophomore Randy Wilson (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic / Miami Palmetto / Louisville) won their match on court three, 6-3, before junior Max Damm (Bradenton, Fla./Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School) redshirt-sophomore Magnus Johnson (Naples, Fla./Homeschool/UCF) won by the same score on court one.
In singles, redshirt-sophomore Guglielmo Stefanacci (Prato, Italy / International School of Florence) cruised to a 6-0, 6-2 win on court five to put the Eagles up 2-0. However, that was all the Eagles would get on the day as the Flames won the next four decisions.
Liberty won on courts one, two, and four in straight sets, but the Eagles still had a chance as redshirt-sophomores Marcelo Sepulveda (Monterrey, Mexico / Penn Foster / Alabama) and Juan Lopez (Gachancipa, Colombia / Colegio Virtual Siglio XXI) each went to a third set.
Unfortunately, Thando Longwe-Smit pulled away from Lopez on court six to clinch the match for the Flames. Sepulveda’s match went unfinished but based on his play di lui today and his big win in the semifinals, he was named to the All-Tournament Team.
# 3 Liberty 4, # 1 FGCU 2
1. Josh Wilson (LIBERTY) def. JOHNSON, Magnus (FGCU) 6-4, 6-4
2. Nicaise Muamba (LIBERTY) def. WILSON, Randy (FGCU) 6-2, 6-1
3. SEPULVEDA, Marcelo (FGCU) vs. R. Marques Da Silva (LIBERTY) 4-6, 6-3, 2-5, unfinished
4. Christiaan Worst (LIBERTY) def. MONTES, Juan (FGCU) 6-2, 6-2
5. STEFANACCI, Gugli (FGCU) def. Deji Thomas-Smith (LIBERTY) 6-0, 6-2
6. Thando Longwe-Smit (LIBERTY) def. LOPEZ, Juan (FGCU) 1-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2
1. DAMM, Max / JOHNSON, Magnus (FGCU) def. Nicaise Muamba / R. Marques Da Silva (LIBERTY) 6-3
2. Christiaan Worst / Josh Wilson (LIBERTY) def. SEPULVEDA, Marcelo / MONTES, Juan (FGCU) 6-2
3. WILSON, Randy / ONCINS, Eric (FGCU) def. Deji Thomas-Smith / Zion Heaven (LIBERTY) 6-3
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (5,2,4,1,6)
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FGCU is led by three-time ASUN Coach of the Year CJ Weber, who has coached 32 ASUN All-Conference selections since joining the Green and Blue in 2011. In his seventh year, Weber has compiled a 118-94 (.583) overall record and a 50-20 (.721) record in ASUN play . In 2014-15, Weber guided the Eagles to their first-ever ASUN Championship and first-ever ASUN Regular Season title after a program-best 17 wins. In his third season, Weber led Jordi Vives to a No. 35 national ranking, a nation-leading 14-match unbeaten streak and the round of 32 in the 2014 NCAA Tournament – the program’s first appearance. The Eagles completed a perfect ASUN regular season in both 2015 and 2016, finishing with conference titles as well as a Coach of the Year honor for Weber. FGCU again won the 2017 ASUN Championship and made its second NCAA appearance. The Eagles returned to the mountaintop by claiming the 2019 regular season and tournament championships. Weber earned his third ASUN Coach of the Year honor and led the Green and Blue to their third trip to the NCAA Tournament.
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FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 91 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 14+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just 10 seasons of DI postseason eligibility, the Eagles have had a combined 43 teams or individuals compete in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs have earned a top-25 national ranking in their respective sport – including women’s basketball (No. 20, 2021-22), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2022) and both men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer (2018) as three of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Green and Blue posted a department-best sixth-place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top-100 showing nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and state of Florida best seven teams earn the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for their Academic Progress Rate in their sport. FGCU also collectively earned a record 3.50 GPA in the classroom in the fall 2020 semester and has outperformed the general University undergraduate population for 25 consecutive semesters. The past five semesters (Fall 2019 – Fall 2021) each saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a 3.0-or-higher team GPA in each. The Eagles also served an all-time high 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two runners-up for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.