April 24, 2010
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The sixth-seeded Auburn men's tennis team concluded its run in the 2010 SEC Tournament Saturday, falling in the semifinals to the two-seed Florida Gators, 4-1. The tournament is held at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Kentucky.
"I'm really proud of our team and how they performed today," head coach Eric Shore said. "We fought hard against a tough Florida team and you can't ask for much more."
The loss ends the Tigers' run in the SEC Tournament, but the team will compete again May 14 in the NCAA Regionals. The selection show for NCAA regionals will be held on May 4 and will be aired on ESPNews.
In doubles action, Auburn saw a loss on court two as Andreas Mies and Michel Monteiro fell to the No. 51 pair of Joseph Burkhardt and Sekou Bangoura, 8-1.
On court three, Tim Hewitt and Lucas Lopasso fought back to challenge Bob Van Overbeek and Daniel Cash, but fell, 8-5, to give the Gators the early advantage.
Going unfinished was the court one matchup between Auburn's No. 13 pair of Tim Puetz and Alex Stamchev and Florida's No. 14 tandem of Antoine Benneteau and Alex Lacroix. Benneteau and Lacroix held a 6-5 advantage when the flight was called.
"We fought back in doubles and really gave oursevles a chance on number three," Shore stated. "We almost brought ourselves all the way back. We were right there."
Auburn fell further behind in singles action as Lopasso took a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Von Overbeek. Hewitt then fell to Benneteau, 6-1, 6-4, as the Tigers found fell behind the Gators, 3-0.
Putting Auburn on the board was Puetz, the No. 20 player in the nation, who topped No. 5 Lacroix, 6-3, 6-4, and put the Tigers at a 3-1 position. Puetz's win over the No. 5 player was his highest ranked opponent that he has defeated this season.
Florida claimed the match with a court six win as Bangoura topped Mies, 7-6 (2), 6-2.
Both Oliver Strecker and Stamchev did not finish their matches. Stamchev had a one-set advantage over No. 113 Burkhardt, while Strecker was in the third set as the match was decided.
"The performance that we put up this weekend tells me that this team is really maturing and improving," Shore said. "We will take plenty of positives away from this weekend. We definitely put ourselves in a better position than we were in before the weekend."
Auburn will see action again in the NCAA Regional on May 14.
At 2010 SEC Tournament - Against #2 Florida
1. No. 13 Puetz/Stamchev (AU) vs. No. 14 Benneteau/Lacroix (UF); 5-6, unf.
2. No. 51 Burkardt/Bangoura (UF) def. Mies/Monteiro (AU); 8-1
3. Van Overbeek/Cash (UF) def. Hewitt/Lopasso (AU); 8-5
1. No. 20 Tim Puetz (AU) def. No. 5 Alex Lacroix (UF); 6-3, 6-4
2. No. 97 Alex Stamchev (AU) vs. No. 113 Joseph Burkhardt (UF); 6-4, 4-5, unf.
3. Antoine Benneteau (UF) def. Tim Hewitt (AU); 6-1, 6-4
4. Bob Van Overbeek (UF) def. Lucas Lopasso (AU); 6-3, 6-3
5. Oliver Strecker (AU) vs. Nassim Slilam (UF); 6-3, 4-6, 1-4, unf.
6. Sekou Bangoura (UF) def. Andy Mies (AU); 7-6 (7-2), 6-2
Auburn 11-12; National Ranking #37
Florida 19-3; National Ranking #6
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (4,3,1,6)