FORT MYERS, Fla. – Behind a thrilling, three-set singles victory from redshirt-freshman Magnus Johnson (Naples, Fla./Homeschool/UCF), the top-seeded FGCU men’s tennis team (7-5) downed No. 4S UNF (6-13) 4-3 on Saturday night at the FGCU Tennis Complex.
With the quarterfinal win under their belts, the Eagles will now advance to an ASUN Semifinal match against No. 2N Lipscomb on Friday, April 23 at the UNF Tennis Complex. On the other side of the bracket, No. 1N Liberty will face off with No. 3S Kennesaw State. This postseason, FGCU is on the hunt for its fourth tournament crown since 2015. For more information regarding the ASUN Men’s Tennis Championship, click here.
“Today, UNF was ready to play,” head coach CJ Weber said. “They really took it to us early on but wow was I impressed with how resilient our team was today. It was great to see the guys respond like that with our backs against the wall. We never stopped believing in ourselves and our toughness came through in the end. I am so proud of this bunch of guys and I really hope we can learn from this match to play some better tennis next weekend. It was very impressive for Magnus to come through in a moment like that in his first year as an Eagle. Felipe and Juan led the team with their energy all throughout the match and Guglielmo beat a really tough opponent when we needed him once again. I’m really looking forward to next weekend.”
The match was a battle from the start, as doubles play was decided by the final court. The duo of redshirt-junior Juan Montes (Pereira, Colombia/Colegio Lujan) and redshirt-senior Felipe Ramirez (Armenia, Colombia/Florida Virtual School) kicked things off with a 6-3 triumph at the second court before UNF responded with a 6-3 result of its own on court three. The Osprey duo of Jorge Nunez and Federico Nani then took home the early point with a 7-5 win at the top spot, handing the team a 1-0 advantage.
UNF maintained the momentum through the start of singles play, earning back-to-back wins at the third and fifth spots to extend their lead to 3-0. With the Ospreys on the verge of clinching the match, Ramirez secured a 7-5, 6-4 victory on court No. 4 to stop UNF’s spree.
The Eagles continued to chip away at the Ospreys’ lead, as Montes and redshirt-freshman Guglielmo Stefanacci (Prato, Italy/International School of Florence) came through for the team with wins at the second and sixth spots, respectively. Both Montes and Stefanacci took down their opponents in three sets to help FGCU knot up the score at 3-3.
The Green & Blue’s three unanswered wins left the match to be decided by the top court, which featured a battle between Johnson and Dominik Barton. The two had already faced off twice this season, with Barton winning the first meeting (7-6, 6-3) and Johnson taking the second (6-2, 6-2).
For the first time this season, the singles match between the foes went into three sets as Johnson earned a 6-2 result in the first before dropping the second, 3-6. With the Eagles’ postseason run on the line, he earned a 6-4 triumph to boost the team to its final 4-3 margin and keep the team’s season alive.
The Eagles will now turn their attention towards the upcoming match against Lipscomb. FGCU has a 10-3 all-time advantage over the Bisons and has not lost to the team since 2012. The sides have only faced off once before during the postseason, with the Eagles earning a 4-2 victory No. 6 Lipscomb in the 2017 ASUN Tennis Championship.
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1. #67 JOHNSON, Magnus (FGCU) def. Dominik Barton (UNF-M) 6-2, 3-6, 6-4
2. MONTES, Juan (FGCU) def. Nilo Duarte (UNF-M) 6-2, 3-6, 6-1
3. Patrick Kotan (UNF-M) def. WILSON, Randy (FGCU) 6-0, 6-3
4. RAMIREZ, Felipe (FGCU) def. Matt Carroll (UNF-M) 7-5, 6-4
5. Rodrigo Crespo (UNF-M) def. CONCA, Alessandro (FGCU) 6-3, 6-4
6. STEFANACCI, Gugli (FGCU) def. Jorge Nunez (UNF-M) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4
Order of finish: 3, 5, 4, 2, 6, 1
1. Jorge Nunez/Federico Nani (UNF-M) def. JOHNSON, Magnus/DAMM, Max (FGCU) 7-5
2. MONTES, Juan/RAMIREZ, Felipe (FGCU) def. Rodrigo Crespo/Dominik Barton (UNF-M) 6-3
3. Matt Carroll/Nilo Duarte (UNF-M) def. ONCINS, Eric/WILSON, Randy (FGCU) 6-3
Order of finish: 2, 3, 1
FGCU is led by three-time ASUN Coach of the Year CJ Weber, who has coached 32 ASUN All-Conference selections since joining the Green and Blue in 2011. In his seventh year, Weber has compiled a 103-86 (.541) overall record and a 43-19 (.672) record in ASUN play. In 2014-15, Weber guided the Eagles to their first-ever ASUN Championship and first-ever ASUN Regular Season title after a program-best 17 wins. In his third season, Weber led Jordi Vives to a No. 35 national ranking, a nation-leading 14-match unbeaten streak and the round of 32 in the 2014 NCAA Tournament – the program’s first appearance. The Eagles completed a perfect ASUN regular season in both 2015 and 2016, finishing with conference titles as well as a Coach of the Year honor for Weber. FGCU again won the 2017 ASUN Championship and made its second NCAA appearance. The Eagles returned to the mountaintop by claiming the 2019 regular season and tournament championships. Weber earned his third ASUN Coach of the Year honor and led the Green and Blue to their third trip to the NCAA Tournament.
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FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 85 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 13+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just nine seasons of D-I postseason eligibility, the Eagles have had a combined 40 teams or individuals compete in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs have earned a top-25 national ranking in their respective sport – including women’s basketball (No. 21, 2020-21), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2021) and both men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer (2018) as three of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Green and Blue posted a department-best sixth-place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top-100 showing nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and state of Florida best seven teams earn the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for their Academic Progress Rate in their sport. FGCU also collectively earned a record 3.50 GPA in the classroom in the fall 2020 semester and has outperformed the general University undergraduate population for 23 consecutive semesters. The 2019 Fall, 2020 Spring, and 2020 Fall semesters each saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a 3.0-or-higher team GPA. The Eagles also served an all-time high 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two runners-up for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.