BRADENTON - Florida Southern dropped a 5-4 decision in a back-and-fourth match to Rollins in the opening round of the 2017 Sunshine State Conference Men's Tennis Tournament held today at the IMG Academy. The 5th seeded Moccasins fall to 10-11 on the season while the No. 4 seeded Tars improve to 11-9.
The Moccasins, ranked 38th in the NCAA Division II, took two of three doubles matches from the 28th ranked Tars.
Brian Slivonik and Fabian Lundberg picked up the Moccasins' first win with an 8-5 defeat over Daniel Ferl and Guilherme Dumit at number two doubles while Miguel Alvarez-Hevia and Laurent Mailloux downed Patrick Sell and Sami Kirberg, 8-4, at number one for a 2-0 Florida Southern lead. However, Rollins came back to win the third flight as Francesco Racanelli and Ziad Melhaoui topped Blaine Miller and Jose de Sario, 8-5.
The Moccasins extended their lead to 3-1 as de Sario defeated Racanelli, 6-1, 6-1 at number one singles while Kirberg picked up a 6-2, 6-3 win over Slivonik at number three to pull Rollins with one, 3-2.
Sell then lifted Rollins to a 3-3 tie in the match with a 6-4, 6-0 win at number one over Lundberg while Cody Gubin came back from a first set defeat to beat Miller, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 at number six and move Rollins to a 4-3 lead.
Mailloux held on to post a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win over Melhaoui at number four singles and tie the match once again, at 4-all. Ferl then rallied from a first set defeat to topple Alvarez-Hevia, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 and clinch the match for the Tars.
The Moccasins will now wait on a possible NCAA postseason bid. The top eight teams in the South Region will participate in two preliminary rounds April 29-30 with two winners of each round advancing to the NCAA Championships, May 9-12 at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, FL. in In the latest NCAA South Regional Rankings released on Wednesday, Florida Southern was ranked eighth.