Johnson City, Tenn. - Second-seeded and 62nd-ranked North Florida (19-5) eliminated the third-seeded Stetson men's tennis team (17-5) from the 2012 Atlantic Sun Conference Championships, handing the Hatters a 4-1 defeat in the semifinals Saturday morning. Freshman Chester Espie (Auckland, New Zealand) earned Stetson's lone point.
The match was originally scheduled later in the day at ETSU's Buddy Hartsell Tennis Center, but looming bad weather forced the time up to 8:00 am and the site to be moved across town to Milligan College's Mathes Tennis Center.
Stetson started the match on a positive note as sophomore Hans Adrian Riseng (Oslo, Norway) and senior Njal Stene (Oslo, Norway) won 8-5 at #1 doubles over Norbert Nemcsek and Daniel Sotomarino. The Ospreys would respond by pulling out 8-5 and 8-6 wins on the other two courts to take a closely contested doubles point and go up 1-0 in the match.
North Florida won three of the six singles matches in straight sets to achieve the four points necessary to advance to tomorrow's championship match against top-seeded ETSU. Espie allowed the Hatters to avoid a shutout as he beat Beauregard Treyz 7-4, 6-5 on Court 6.
Today's loss marks the end of the season for the Hatters as an A-Sun championship match will be contested without Stetson for the first time since 2005. The Hatters will say goodbye to Stene, a Second Team All-Atlantic Sun honoree, and A-Sun Player of the Year Maksim Levanovich (Minsk, Belarus) through graduation but return the rest of the singles and doubles lineup from this 17-5 squad.
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