The men’s and women’s tennis teams of East Tennessee State University shined in the Southern Conference Tournament in Greenville, South Carolina. The men beat Mercer to win the SoCon, while the women lost in the final to Furman.
The men’s team started off strong and beat No. 8 UTC in the first match of the tournament, 4-0, only succumbing to one loss in the doubles competition. UTC’s Nic Wilson and Pablo Llebeili defeated Wenceslao Albin and David Gonzalez 6-3 in the first match, but after that, the Bucs didn’t let it happen again.
The teams of Diego Nunez and Robert Herrera and David Biosca and Miguel Este won their respective doubles matches. Going into the singles competition the Bucs were in the lead, and once they got going, there was no stopping them. The Buccaneers succeeded in a clean sweep of all singles matches, sending them on to face UNCG in the second match of the tournament.
In the second day of tournament play, ETSU once again dominated the competition, beating the home team, UNCG, 4-1. The only Bucs that took a loss were the doubles teams of Nunez and Herrera and Albin and Gonzalez. The team of Biosca/Este held steady and came through with the only doubles win for the blue and gold.
With these two wins, the men’s team secured their spot in the championship for a third year in a row.
The women’s team experienced the same amount of success in the SoCon tournament as they were undefeated and had taken no losses in their first two matches. On Friday afternoon the Bucs took on No. 7 Wofford and had no problems taking the 4-0 victory. Jayde Viccars (Glen Waverly, Australia)/Melissa Esguerra (Derrimutt, Australia) and Alory Pereira (Sao Paulo, Brazil)/ Yi Chi Ma (Kaohsiung, Taiwn) both took their respective matches in straight sets. While Marina Guinart Espana (Castellar Del Valles, Spain) and Ioanna Markesini (Athens, Greece) won 4-3 in a close match up.
The first three matchups were won by the Bucs in straight sets. Markesini beat Cassidy Hicks of Wofford 6-0, 6-4. Improving her record to 12-5 overall and becoming a perfect 3-0 in the No. 2 position. Sophomore Espana was now on a 35 game winning streak after defeating Catherine Martian in the No. 1 position.
ETSU defeated No. 3 Mercer in the semifinals, 4-0, Saturday morning, moving them into the championship against No. 1 Furman on Sunday, April 23. Viccars and Esguerra earned their sixth victory of the season in doubles competition. While the duo of Espana and Markesini extended their winning streak to three and becoming 8-2 in their last ten matches.
In the No. 1 position was Espana, defeating Katia Stvroulaki 6-3, claiming her 36th straight victory in singles competition. Winning in the No. 4 position was the All-Freshman selection Yi Chi Ma. Junior Esguerra secured the victory for the Bucs after defeating Haley Powell 7-5, 6-0 in the No. 5 five position.
With the Buccaneers’ impressive showing over the weekend both teams earned a spot in their respective championship matches. In the championship match for the women, they were defeated 4-2 to No. 1 Furman. The men’s team won against No. 3 Mercer, 4-3. They are now the SoCon champions and will go on to play in the NCAA tournament.