This post is courtesy of C. J. Weber, Men's Tennis Coach at Florida Gulf Coast University
Dear fans and supporters of FGCU Men’s Tennis:
Dear fans and supporters of FGCU Men’s Tennis:
Well, we couldn’t quite get it done this last weekend [April 17 - 19] up in Jacksonville, but the guys gave it a heck of a try at the A-Sun Championships! I know many of you were following the results, and I can’t thank you enough for your congratulations throughout the weekend and all of your support throughout the entire year.
After breezing through Mercer in the first round by winning 4-0, we knew we had a huge challenge ahead of us, playing against the #2 seed and host UNF. Although we have never beaten UNF in program history, the air was whispering ‘upset’ all weekend, and we really thought we were going to be able to pull away with that one to play for our first conference title.
After many weather delays and plenty stoppages of play, we ultimately lost the match 4-2 with our hearts broken and bodies and minds exhausted. After winning the doubles point (Jordi and Dean beat their first nationally ranked team ever…and Bao and Lance came back from a 5-7 deficit to win in a tiebreaker to remain a flawless 5-0 in tiebreakers all season!), it appeared that we were sitting in a great spot; but we were only fortunate enough to claim one of the singles spots before the other four came to a dramatic halt.
Senior Gabe Echeverry was left on the court early in a third set tiebreaker, and we’re most certain he would have come away with the W in that one. The overall match couldn’t have been much closer, as the singles alone lasted over 3 hours.
But the season is over, and it’s time to reflect back on another great year. So many program firsts, so many individual accomplishments, and so many team accomplishments, I will probably forget several of them, but here goes nothing!
Maybe most importantly and most excitingly, you guys (our fans) put us in the national spotlight in fan attendance in February by being ranked top 5 in the country in average attendance of all three of our matches in February!!! Wow, is that something special, and I can’t wait to see how we can continue to build things here as we make enhancements to our facility in trying to increase the fan experience.
Our conference record this year in the regular season was 6-2, and I can’t help but think about the freshman year of the current seniors when they went 1-9 in the conference! What a turnaround in such a short amount of time, and it couldn’t be a better testament to their hard work and determination to grow and build this program. 6-2 is the best record FGCU has ever seen in the A-Sun, and it is the most total number of wins as well.
We were seeded 3rd in the tournament, the highest seed we have ever had. We beat Stetson on Senior Day, which had never been done before (and hopefully this is the start of trying to even that series after starting down 0-7). Senior Dean Tsamas became the winningest player in FGCU Division I history with 62 total singles wins!!!
Wow, won’t that guy be missed…not only by myself and his teammates, but also by our fans. To watch his grit and determination on the court every day was really something special! Another senior Gabe Echeverry won a title for the Eagles back in the fall by winning the Georgia Southern Championships! Bao made 1st Team All-Conference for the first time in his career, moving up from Freshman of the Year his first year, to 2nd Team last year, and now to 1st Team. I can’t wait to see what he’ll surprise us with next year. And Jordi has a seemingly endless list of accomplishments this year.
After posting a 34-4 record on the season, he is currently ranked #50 in the country, the highest of any FGCU player in its Division I history, and his 10-0 record in the conference was good enough to make him the A-Sun Conference Player of the Year! Not to mention, he made the All-Academic Team with his 3.51 GPA as well as the All-Tournament Team for his efforts this past weekend!
And let’s not forget his quarterfinal run in Regionals last fall, and we will NEVER forget his magical run to the championship of the Dick Vitale Invitational in Lakewood Ranch when he beat the likes of Minnesota, Virginia, Duke, and Princeton! And how about Jordi and Bao playing in the FINALS of our home invitational against each other in the singles draw and WITH each other in the doubles draw! That was something special!
And to cap it all off, Jordi will be looking forward to ‘taking his talents to Athens, GA’ as he will undoubtedly qualify for the NCAA Singles Tournament, which takes the top 64 singles players in the country, so they can all battle it out for an individual national championship! The tournament starts on 5/21, so wish us luck…and maybe even a couple fans might be interested in making the trek up there to watch him play???
Thanks once again for your continued support of this program! It’s been a really fun ride these past 3 years, and I can’t wait to see what is in store for the future yet. Maybe with a little bit more improvement next year, we can somehow take home that coveted conference title, and bring FGCU its first conference championship! But for now, I hope everybody has a great summer, and is looking forward to just a little bit of relaxation as I am (but not until Jordi is complete with his run at NCAA’s of course!)
Take care, and GO EAGLES!!!
C. J. Weber
Head Men’s Tennis Coach| Florida Gulf Coast University