SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Stetson men’s tennis team opened up Atlantic Sun Conference play with a 4-3 road win over USC Upstate on Friday afternoon.
“Everyone understands the importance and significance of a conference match and I am proud of the guys for getting a win in this first one on the road,” Stetson associate head coach Christophe Noblet said.
The Hatters and the Spartans battled in doubles action with each match coming down to a tie-break. Sophomores Cahit Kapukiran and Egor Panyushkin won 8-7 (5) at number three, before Upstate won 8-7 (5) at number two to tie things up. Junior Nathan Debut and senior Hans Adrian Riseng then earned Stetson the first point with an 8-7 (5) win at number one doubles.
“The doubles was extremely intense and the point really could have gone either way,” Noblet said. “Ultimately, I think our team chemistry made the difference in the end.”
Debut added to the Hatters’ lead with a 6-2, 6-1 win at number one singles. The Spartans countered with a 6-4, 7-6 (4) win at number two to make it 2-1 in favor of the Hatters.
After Panyushkin won 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 at number six, Upstate again kept things close with a 6-4, 6-2 triumph at the number four position.
Hatter freshman Graham Ball clinched the victory in Friday’s A-Sun opener with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win at number five against Yvon Haessig. The Spartans won on court three to make the final score 4-3.
Stetson will continue conference action on Saturday, taking on defending A-Sun champion ETSU in Johnson City.
“ETSU is always to tough team to play, especially on the road,” Noblet said. “Our primary focus will be on doubles and the intensity we need to bring right from the get-go.”