TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The FGCU men’s tennis team kicked off the Bedford Cup at Florida State on Friday, and had multiple winners in what was the first event of the season for most of the players.
“I was really excited to see this group compete for the first time this year,” said head coach CJ Weber. “The first day of competition is usually when you really get to see where the team stands and what you need to work on. I was particularly proud of [Guglielmo] and Max for gritting out 2 tough three-setters in tough conditions. It was also a lot of fun to see Lopez on the competition court again when we haven’t been able to see him compete for a while, even though his match did not go his way. Tomorrow is going to be another opportunity to learn and grow, both as individuals and a team. Let’s see how we do.”
Redshirt-sophomore Magnus Johnson (Naples, Fla./Homeschool/UCF), the top seed in the tournament and coming off an appearance at the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, advanced to the quarterfinals. After receiving a bye in the first round, he took down Diego Marques of Stetson, 6-3, 6-1.
Junior Max Damm (Bradenton, Fla./Saint Stephens Episcopal School) also advanced to the quarterfinals, doing so in the B flight, as he defeated Joshua Laka of Stetson, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Guglielmo Stefanacci picked up a singles win as well for the Eagles as he defeated Jonas Hartenstein(UNF), 1-6,7-5, 6-4 in the first round but fell to Antonio Muniz-Hidalgo of USF, 1-6, 4-6. He will now move to a consolation bracket.
Redshirt-sophmore Juan Lopez (Gachancipa, Colombia/Colegio Virtual Siglo XXI) sophomore Eric Oncins (Orlando, Fla/Montverde Academy) and redshirt-junior Pedro Maciel (Belo Horizante, Brazil/Goliath Academy) will also go to consolation brackets after dropping their opening-round matches.
In doubles, the pairs of Damm/Oncins and Lopez/Johnson will play in the quarterfinals after both receiving byes in the first round. Stefanacci and Maciel will go to the consolation bracket after falling to the team of Crespo/Hartenstein of North Florida, 4-6.
The team will be back tomorrow morning for day two.
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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 103-87 (.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 42 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 24 consecutive semesters. The 2019 Fall, 2020 Spring, 2020 Fall, and 2021 Spring semesters each saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a 3.0-or-higher team GPA in each. 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.