DeLand, Fla. - The second-seeded Stetson men's tennis team (20-4) came out on top in a see-saw match with third-seeded UNF (18-8) in the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center on Friday, outlasting the visiting Ospreys 4-2. Sophomores Cesare Gallo (Portogruaro, Italy) and Maksim Levanovich (Minsk, Belarus) won in singles and doubles for the Hatters; both won in three sets with Gallo providing the match-clinching point.
UNF rallied from a 1-0 deficit after the doubles portion to take a 2-1 lead as Leonardo Nahar and Graham Edgar won on Courts 5 and 6, respectively. Nahar's 6-1, 6-1 win over junior Alex Hackett (Surrey, England) at #5 singles was the only match to be decided in two sets in the four-hour affair.
Levanovich rallied from a set down to beat Moritz Buerchner 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Court 1, drawing the match even; freshman Didrik Berg (Oslo, Norway) followed with a 7-6, 2-6, 6-1 win over Taylor Albrecht on Court 4 that gave the Hatters a 3-2 lead. Gallo patiently out-pointed Hleb Maslau at the #3 slot by a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 score to finally end the match in Stetson's favor. The Hatters have now advanced to five consecutive A-Sun tournament championship matches.
Gallo and Levanovich won at #2 doubles with an 8-2 triumph over Albrecht and Kurt Gattiker while senior Mark Mestan (Cologne, Germany) and sophomore Njal Stene (Oslo, Norway) brought home the doubles point for Stetson with an 8-5 win over Buerchner and Nahar on Court 3.
The Hatters will take aim at their first A-Sun title tomorrow at 10 a.m. as they face top seed and nationally 59th-ranked ETSU. The Buccaneers have claimed three straight tournament crowns.