FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU men’s tennis team did not make it easy, but in the end, the top-seeded Eagles picked up a dramatic 4-3 win over # 4 North Florida, Saturday afternoon in the ASUN Tournament Semifinals. Overall, the Eagles now sit at 15-6 on the season and will advance to tomorrow’s championship match against # 3 Liberty.
“I am REALLY proud of my guys tonight,” said head coach CJ weber. “We really showed our character when our backs were against the wall! I felt like UNF put a lot of pressure on us, and if the guys weren’t ready to respond, we would have lost today! We also had an INCREDIBLE crowd out there! I was so happy for our fans, because that was really something to witness. “
“So now we live to fight another day against a very tough Liberty squad,” continued Weber. “This has been an incredibly fun and competitive ASUN season, and I expect tomorrow’s match to be the culmination of some intense play. You have to come out to the FGCU Tennis Complex tomorrow at 1 pm. There won’t be anything more entertaining in all of southwest Florida tomorrow, I can promise that! “
The Eagles got off to a fast start as they took the doubles point. Junior Max Damm (Bradenton, Fla./Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School) and redshirt-sophomore Magnus Johnson (Naples, Fla./Homeschool/UCF) won their match, 6-4, on court one before sophomore Eric Oncins (Orlando, Fla./Montverde Academy) and redshirt-sophomore Randy Wilson (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic / Miami Palmetto / Louisville) clinched the point with a 6-3 victory on court three.
The momentum turned toward the Ospreys in singles as they won in straight sets on courts two, five, and six to take a 3-1 lead. The comeback started for the Eagles on court one as ASUN Player of the Year Johnson won 6-3, 6-4.
On court four, graduate student Juan Montes (Pereira, Colombia / Colegio Lujan) took the first set 6-4 against # 69 Dominik Barton, but dropped the second, 6-0. Montes turned the tides in the third set as he dominated and won 6-1 to tie up the overall match at three.
The match came down redshirt-sophomore Marcelo Sepulveda (Monterrey, Mexico / Penn Foster / Alabama) on court three. Sepulveda, an ASUN Second-Team selection, also won his first set before dropping the second set. In the third set, he fell behind 3-1, but rallied to win the final five games of the set to win 6-3 and clinch FGCU’s spot in tomorrow’s championship match.
Tomorrow’s match is set to begin at 1 pm at the FGCU Tennis Complex. The Eagles will take on three-seed Liberty, who defeated # 2 Kennesaw State, 4-0, on Saturday. Earlier this season, the Eagles defeated the Flames, 4-3, having had to come back from an 3-0 deficit.
# 71 FGCU 4, # 70 UNF 3
1. JOHNSON, Magnus (FGCUM) def. Jonas Hartenstein (UNF) 6-3, 6-4
2. Nile Duarte (UNF) def. WILSON, Randy (FGCUM) 6-2, 6-1
3. SEPULVEDA, Marcelo (FGCUM) def. Matt Carroll (UNF) 6-3, 1-6, 6-3
4. MONTES, Juan (FGCUM) def. # 69 Dominik Barton (UNF) 6-4, 0-6, 6-1
5. PJ Kotan (UNF) def. STEFANACCI, Gugli (FGCUM) 7-6 (7-4), 6-0
6. Rodrigo Crespo (UNF) def. LOPEZ, Juan (FGCUM) 6-4, 6-4
1. JOHNSON, Magnus / DAMM, Max (FGCUM) def. Jonas Hartenstein / Jorge Nunez (UNF) 6-4
2. SEPULVEDA, Marcelo / MONTES, Juan (FGCUM) vs. Nilo Duarte / Rodrigo Crespo (UNF) 4-5, unfinished
3. ONCINS, Eric / WILSON, Randy (FGCUM) def. Matt Carroll / Dominik Barton (UNF) 6-3
Order of finish: Doubles (1.3); Singles (2,6,5,1,4,3)
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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 118-93 (.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.