The Mercer men’s tennis team finished their season without a trip to the Atlantic Sun Championships, which is an unfortunate turn of events following some impressive early season wins. The Bears finish their season with a record of 5-13 overall, and 2-7 in the conference. They rounded out the year in a dead heat for the sixth seed in the conference tournament, but it was ended by a tough loss to nationally ranked North Florida.
Mercer 3. Jacksonville St. 4
The Bears took a match away from Atlantic Sun play to head to Alabama for a game with Jacksonville State. A heartbreaking loss is what they got in exchange for the trip. The Bears split the singles points, picking up wins at numbers one, four and five.
Pierre Tafelski improved to 8-6 overall for the year with his straight sets victory. Vince DeLise continued his team-leading pace with a win at number nine in straight sets. Victor Dias also won his in straight sets. However, the doubles point was won by Jacksonville State after hard fought battles at all of the matchups, including Dave Barton and Dias losing 9-8 (10-8) in the first point. The Gamecocks won 4-1 before DeLise and Dias were able to snag a pair of points.
Jacksonville 1, Mercer 6
The Mercer men’s tennis dragged themselves back from the grave of the Atlantic Sun standings to compete for the final spot in the postseason tournament after trouncing Jacksonville on the next to last home game of the year. DeLise got to his 10th win of the year in singles play, and Tafelski got to his ninth win of the season. The only point dropped was due to the ongoing injury of Joao Pagan, who was forced to retire. The doubles point was pretty easily swept by the Bears as well.
North Florida 6, Mercer 1
The nationally ranked North Florida Ospreys cruised past the Mercer Bears on Senior Day, winning by a large margin. In Pierre Tafelski and Dave Barton’s final match, Tafelski was the lone individual who was able to pick up a point to avoid the sweep. His straight sets victory was his 10th of the season, and it was over the reigning Player of the Week for the Atlantic Sun, Daniel Sotomarino. Everyone else was not able to overcome the nationally recognized program.
Pierre Tafelski leaves the Mercer program with a 19-16 record. His two-year career was a benefit to the Mercer program. “To see it end is quite sad, and while I will miss it, I am fortunate for the time I played at Mercer,” said graduating senior Dave Barton said. Barton had an excellent four-year career, going 14-3 in his sophomore year. His impact will be missed, but there with excellent players attempting to fill their shoes.