The Ferris State University men's tennis team pulled off an upset with a 5-4 victory over West Michigan rival Grand Valley State in the first round of the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament on Thursday (May 7) at the Gerstacker Tennis Center in Midland, Mich.
The Bulldogs, who entered the tourney ranked fifth in the region, toppled the region's fourth-ranked squad for the second time in three tries this campaign to advance to the NCAA-II Midwest Regional final on Friday (May 8). FSU will face top-seeded host Northwood at 10 a.m. (EDT) with a berth into the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen at stake. NU, which beat Michigan Tech in Thursday's first round and is ranked 12th nationally, is serving as the host for one of two four-team regionals in the Midwest Region.
Earlier this season, the Bulldogs beat the Lakers by a 5-4 score in the regular-season finale (April 14) between the two teams at the FSU Racquet and Fitness Center in Big Rapids. However, GVSU responded by posting an idential 5-4 win over FSU in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament Semifinals (April 18) held at the Midland Community Tennis Center.
The Bulldogs trailed Grand Valley State 2-1 following Thursday morning's doubles action, but came back to earn the win by taking four of the six singles positions, including a three-set win via tiebreaker by freshman Justin Hermes at the number five position. Senior number one player Lewis DeGeneault also pulled off a big win by knocking off the region's 10th-ranked singles player in GVSU's Tony Dang 6-2, 6-3 at the top flight.
Junior Ahmet Demir and sophomore Josh Guckenberger also captured singles wins for Ferris State, which improved to 14-7 overall this campaign. Hermes and freshman Jack Swan were the lone Bulldog players to earn a victory in doubles action as they toppled the Lakers' Alex Switzer and Matt Globerson 8-5 at the second spot in the lineup. GVSU concluded the year with a 20-9 overall record.
Hermes won the clinching match for FSU with an 8-6 triumph in the tiebreaker of his final set to lift the Bulldogs to the win. Ferris trailed 4-3 with two matches remaining after the two teams split the top four singles positions, but Hermes and Guckenberger both pulled out three-set tiebreakers at numbers five and six singles to help the Bulldogs advance in the tournament.
The win marked the fourth time in the last five years Ferris and GVSU have met in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Tournament and the Bulldogs have won all four matches.
FSU has lost to Northwood in each of its last two regional final appearances during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 campaigns at Midland. Ferris (6-1) placed second this season behind the Timberwolves (7-0) in the GLIAC standings and dropped a 8-1 decision to NU in the only meeting between the two teams earlier this year (April 7) in Midland. Northwood also captured the GLIAC Tournament Championship this spring.
1. Lewis DeGeneault (FS) def. Tony Dang (GV) 6-2, 6-3
2. Ahmet Demir (FS) def. Marc Roeeslein (GV) 6-4, 6-2
3. Philipp Claus (GV) def. Jack Swan (FS) 7-5, 7-6 (8-6)
4. Brock Plangger (GV) def. Brian Anderson (FS) 6-3, 6-2
5. Justin Hermes (FS) def. Alex Switzer (GV) 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 7-6 (8-6)
6. Josh Guckenberger (FS) def. Michael Coupek (GV) 6-4, 6-7, 6-1
1. Tony Dang/Marc Roeeslein (GV) def. Lewis DeGeneault/Ahmet Demir (FS) 8-4
2. Jack Swan/Justin Hermes (FS) def. Alex Switzer/Matt Globerson (GV) 8-5
3. Brock Plangger/Michael Coupek (GV) def. Brian Anderson/Josh Guckenberger (FS) 8-4