No. 5 USC Upstate Advances, Ousts No. 4 Lipscomb, 4-2

Friday, April 20, 2012

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – No. 5 USC Upstate’s Gonzalo Blanco defeated No. 4 Lipscomb's Daniel Hernandez 6-4, 6-3 in the No. 3 singles match, clinching the Spartans’ first-ever victory in their first trip to the Atlantic Sun Championships, 4-2, on Friday at ETSU’s Buddy Hartsell Tennis Center.

USC Upstate (12-9, 4-5 A-Sun) rallied back from dropping a heartbreaker in doubles which saw the point come down to a tiebreak at the No. 3 doubles match. Lipscomb took the tiebreak to take the match’s first lead, but could not hold off a furious Spartan singles rally by falling at No. 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Lipscomb (9-12, 4-5 A-Sun) witnesses its season come to an end in the Championship quarterfinals for the second-consecutive season. Last year, the sixth-seeded Bison fell to Campbell 4-0 in the opening round.

The Bison and Spartans kicked off the tournament with a thrilling doubles series which had to be settled in a tiebreak.

Kilder and Ramiro Blanco gave USC Upstate the early advantage with an 8-4 victory at No. 1 against Miguel Cortez and Oliver Strecker. Fifteen minutes later, the Bison evened up the score in the No. 2 match, as Stuart Tierney and Tanner Brown took down Yvon Haessig and Pierre Vernin 8-5.

The point ultimately came down to the No. 3 match, where Colby Shaw and David Salazar put the Bison ahead with a 9-8 (7-5) doubles clincher against Gonzalo Blanco and Jacob Darling.

USC Upstate came storming back in singles action, starting with Ramiro Blanco’s 16th win of the season with a crushing 6-1, 6-0 decision against Strecker in a 53-minute match at No. 1. The Spartans continued to rally with Kidler finishing off Salazar convincingly, 6-2, 6-0, to take their first lead of the match at 2-1.

The Spartan push pressed on at No. 4 as Yvon Haessig blew by Colby Shaw 6-2, 6-1, getting USC Upstate to within one point of advancing to its first A-Sun semifinal.

Before Gonzalo Blanco sent USC Upstate through, Tierney secured the only Bison singles victory with a 6-1, 6-3 consolation at No. 6 against Darling.

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The Atlantic Sun Conference is an NCAA Division I league with 10 member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement with a true balance between student and athlete. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region:Belmont University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.