FGCU Men's Tennis Prepares to Face Florida to Open NCAA Tennis Championship

FGCU Men's Tennis Prepares to Face Florida to Open NCAA Tennis Championship

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The FGCU men's tennis team (14-8) will take on No. 3 Florida (21-3) in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 3 at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex.

"A berth into the NCAA Tournament is the reward for all the hard work and commitment that the guys put into conference season," head coach CJ Weber said. "I'm very proud of the team and excited for this opportunity. Our biggest challenge is going to be staying focused on the same exact things that got us here. We have a tough challenge against Florida but our mission as a team remains the same. We will be focused on ourselves and our attitudes."

Live stats for the match can be followed HERE and play on all six courts will be streamed HERE.

The Eagles drew the third-ranked and top-seeded Gators during Monday night's NCAA selection show. On the other side of the Gainesville regional bracket are second-seeded Florida State and third-seeded UCF, who will face off at noon on Friday. The winners will compete in the second round at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

This will be the second meeting between the two programs, who faced off in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament. The teams have met during various fall tournaments in Gainesville in both the 2010 and 2012 seasons, but have never competed in a scheduled dual.

The Gators claimed a 4-0 victory at the 2017 match at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex. Senior Javier Fernandez recorded the Eagles' only set win of the day, downing current junior Johannes Ingildsen 6-4 in the first set on court five.

This is the fourth-straight season that Florida has been selected as a host for the NCAA Championship first and second rounds. The team has hosted first and second round matches 15 of the last 19 years.

The selection marks the 29th year in a row for the Gators to make the NCAA Championship.

The Gators own a 51-28 record in the tournament and have advanced to the semifinals twice (2005 and 2000).

Florida racked up numerous SEC postseason awards after posting a 12-0 record in conference play. Head coach Bryan Shelton was named SEC Coach of the Year and rookie Sam Riffice earned Freshman of the Year honors. Sophomore Oliver Crawford was named to the All-SEC First Team, while Riffice, sophomore Andy Andrade and Ingildsen made the Second Team.

Three individual Gators earned at-large singles selections and one doubles team got a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

The Green and Blue earned an automatic bid to the 2019 NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament after winning the ASUN Championship on April 21. After closing out conference play 7-0 and earning the team's third regular season title, the Eagles entered the league tournament as the top seed and downed No. 3 UNF in the final match.

Junior Marcelo Tebet (Londrina, Brazil/Colégio Anglo Americano) was named Tournament MVP for clinching the victory over the Ospreys. He was joined on the All-Tournament team by sophomore Juan Montes (Pereira, Colombia).

Montes had already been selected as a First Team All-Conference honoree, as announced by the league back in April. Head Coach CJ Weber was tabbed as the coach of the year and both senior Felipe Escobar (Pereira, Colombia/Liceo Frances de Pereira/TCU) and junior Felipe Ramirez (Armenia, Colombia/Florida Virtual School) were named to the Second Team All-Conference.

As a team, FGCU enters the first round of the tournament on a nine-match winning streak. Fernandez (Ibiza, Spain/IES CTEIB) leads the Eagles with an 11-match run, while junior Feliksas Sakalauskas (Palanga, Lithuania/Virginia Tech) has won seven straight.

FGCU is led by 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 93-76 (.547) overall record and a 38-18 (.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.