by Katie Parker, sports information graduate assistant
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – The No. 14 Georgia College & State University men’s tennis team (14-5, 6-3 PBC) outlasted No. 12 Lander University (15-5, 5-4 PBC) 5-3 in a six and half hour match Wednesday.
Sophomore Leo Bernardes (Sao Paulo, Brazil) decided the match, playing in the fifth singles position. Finding himself down 4-6 after the first set against Pierre Frances, Bernardes hung on to claim the second set 7-6. In set No. 3, he battled to a much-deserved 6-4 victory.
Doubles action put the Bobcats in front. Georgia College’s Jerome Leborgne (Coordimanche, France) and Joao Casagrande (Sao Paulo, Brazil) slid past Lander’s Levan Clark and Pierre Frances 9-7. Bobcat seniors Max Beliankou (Minsk, Belarus) and Giovane Nucci (Santa Catarina, Brazil) downed Paul-Henri Arrigoni and Christopher Mattsson 8-4, while Bernardes and Johan Wadstein (Helsingborg, Sweden) repeated those scores against the Bearcats’ Gary Bertoldo and Henrik Willers, giving the Bobcats a 3-0 lead.
In singles play, Leborgne held his ground against No. 10 Arrigoni, but the Bobcats eventually fell 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (7-2). Slotted second, Lander’s Clark defeated Wadstein as he fell victim to cramps 6-1, 2-6, 6-3, while No. 49 Beliankou swept Willers in a pair of 6-4 sets. Beliankou improved to 15-3 overall this season, taking 12 of his last 13 matches.
At the fourth position, Nucci lost to the Bearcats’ Mattsson 6-7, 6-0 and 6-2. Nucci also cramped up, putting forth a valiant effort. In the sixth spot, Casagrande was down 4-5 against Juan Manrique when Bernardes clinched the fifth Bobcat team point, ending the match.
The Bobcats are back in action Friday, April 16 as they travel to the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Tournament hosted by Clayton State University. The seedings will be announced later this week.
The GCSU Department of Athletics, winners of the 2008-09 PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, GCSU prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the Bobcats' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at Twitter.com username GCSUSID for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCSUBobcats.com to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GCSU Athletics Hall of Fame.