Nashville, Tenn. - The Stetson men's tennis team (15-4, 6-2 Atlantic Sun) clinched at least the #3 seed in the upcoming A-Sun Championships with a 4-3 win at Belmont (7-13, 4-4 A-Sun) Friday afternoon at Centennial Sportsplex. Senior Maksim Levanovich (Minsk, Belarus) and freshman Chester Espie (Auckland, New Zealand) were winners in both singles and doubles.
The Hatters shrugged off a sluggish start in doubles to rally back and earn the point. After dropping the match on Court 3, Espie and Levanovich drew level with an 8-4 win over Renato Antun and Rafael Matos on Court 2 to make the top doubles match a winner-take-all affair. Sophomore Hans Adrian Riseng (Oslo, Norway) and senior Njal Stene (Oslo, Norway) came through for Stetson with an 8-6 win over Rodrigo Amaral and Henrique Norbiato to give the Hatters a 1-0 lead in the match.
Singles play went better in the early going for the Hatters as they rattled off wins in the first three matches to clinch victory. Levanovich and Espie bookended things with straight set victories at the top and bottom of the lineup card; the former beat Antun 7-5, 6-1 while the latter stopped Bruno Silva 6-4, 6-2. Junior Didrik Berg (Oslo, Norway) pushed back from a set down to beat Amaral 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 on Court 3 and put matters to bed at 4-0 Stetson. Belmont won the last three matches of the day, two of them in three sets.
"Although we didn't play our best tennis today, we still earned an important road conference win," noted Stetson Director of Tennis Pierre Pilote. "We had a long travel day, which probably caused our slow start in doubles. We still managed to get the four points which is all that matters at this time of the season. We will strive to play much better tomorrow."
Stetson wraps up the regular season tomorrow in the Music City, taking on Lipscomb at 3:00 pm ET (2:00 pm local CT). The Hatters will learn their seed and opponent for the A-Sun tournament next weekend in Johnson City, Tenn. after tomorrow's match.
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