BRISTOL, Tenn. – The Stetson men’s tennis team was upset in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships on Friday afternoon. Lipscomb (9-11) scored the first four points of the contest to win 4-0 against the young Hatters (15-4).
Playing indoors for the first time this spring, due to the inclement weather in East Tennessee, Stetson got out to a slow start on the indoor courts. The Bisons won at number three and number one doubles to earn the first point of the match. The Hatters were also behind in number two doubles before it was stopped.
Lipscomb’s Daniel Hernandez was the first to win in singles play, topping freshman Laurynas Antropikas 6-4, 6-3 at the number three position to give the Bisons a 2-0 advantage. Senior Didrik Berg then fell to Oliver Strecker 6-1, 7-6 at number one singles, which left Lipscomb just one win away from moving on.
Freshman Cahit Kapukiran won his first set at the number four position with some ease, topping Stuart Tierney 6-2. Unfortunately Tierney came back to win set number two 6-0 to even things up. In a tough back-and-forth third set, Kapukiran eventually fell to Tierney 6-4, as Lipscomb earned a trip to the A-Sun Semifinals on Saturday.
"Lipscomb played very well today," Stetson Director of Tennis Pierre Pilote said after the defeat. "They were the better indoor team, and our guys fought valiantly."
Freshman Simon Julin was winning 6-3, 6-5 at the number two position before his match went unfinished due to the Bisons’ victory. Sophomores Chester Espie and Nathan Debut, who were scheduled to play at number five and six singles, never made it to the court before Lipscomb clinched the victory.
"I know the team is extremely disappointed with the way the season ended, but when they have time to reflect back on the season as a whole, they will realize how well they did," Pilote continued. "It's always sad to see the last match of one of your seniors. Didrik [Berg] did such a great job as the captain of this young squad, but even more, he had a great college career."
With the loss Stetson falls to 15-4 on the season, and failed to reach the A-Sun Semifinals for the first time since 2005. Lipscomb will advance to take on second seeded ETSU on Saturday in Johnson City.