JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Stetson University men’s tennis team advanced to the second round of the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship in thrilling fashion, Thursday morning, defeating fifth seeded USC Upstate 4-2. Nathan Debut clinched the victory on court No. 1 to propel his team to the second round for the seventh time in the last eight seasons.
The Hatters, a fourth seed had already beaten the Spartans once this season and were well on their way to their second victory in as many tries after taking two of three doubles matches to secure a 1-0 lead. Stetson triumphed first on court No. 3 with an 8-0 win from Simon Julin and Graham Ball, then after an 8-6 loss on court No. 1, it was up to Nathan Debut and Hans Adrian Riseng who fought hard for the 8-7 (7-4) victory.
Upstate evened the score, taking the first singles match on court No. 2, but then the Hatters surged back with victories on courts No. 6 and 3 to make it 3-1. Chester Espie broke the tie with his 6-4, 6-2 win over the Spartan’s Yvonon Haessig and then Cahit Kapukiran gave his team some breathing room with a 6-3, 6-1 victory vs. USC’s Gonzalo Blanco.
The Spartans took their second and final match of the morning on court No. 5 as Ball fell in three sets , 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, making it 3-2 with Debut on the verge on clinching on court No. 1
With Simon Julin and Jami Yates match not yet finished on court No. 4, Debut slammed home the winning point for his team, defeating Upstate’s Matthias Kidler 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
The victory gave Stetson a dozen for the season, pushing its record to 12-9 on the year. The Hatters will next take on A-Sun regular season champion and No. 1 seed ETSU, tomorrow at 9 a.m., at the UNF Tennis Complex in Jacksonville.
The Bucs and Hats have already met once this season, with ETSU coming out on top 7-0 in Johnson City. Stetson will look to even up the season series and advance to the Conference Title Match with a win Friday morning.
Live stats for the ETSU match will be available via the Atlantic Sun’s official website. Gohatters.com will have Stetson recaps and atlanticsun.org will provide comprehensive championship coverage with up to date brackets and records. Fans can also follow @StetsonTennis on Twitter, as well as sign up for Hat-Alerts, the athletic department’s official text messaging system for match updates.