VALDOSTA, Ga. -- Barry University's No. 4-ranked men's tennis team knocked off No. 2 West Florida Friday, 5-4, in a marquee neutral site match that signaled the Buccaneers' first big statement win of the season.
"It was a big win," Bucs assistant coach Thomas Hipp said. "It was a milestone victory for us."
The Buccaneers (8-0) lost to the Argonauts (5-1) at home last year, 5-4. This year, dynamics are different, and with some spirited new blood entering the program, it's a different makeup to this Bucs team.
Freshman walk-on Eduardo Alfonzo notched the team-clinching fifth point when he was inserted into the sixth singles flight, and took care of business in a 6-4, 6-3 win over Domenico Sano.
"We're playing a tough opponent, and I knew it was a big match because I was hearing it all week from the guys," Alfonzo said. "You don't really realize it until you go there and see the intensity. I'm very proud of myself. In the beginning, I didn't know I was going to have these types of opportunities. I'm glad I was given a chance to go out and compete, and help contribute to a big team victory."
Barry's coaching staff moved Alfonzo into the singles spot after doubles play, believing his early-season success and seemingly rapid maturity could help pay off. The move worked.
"Even though he's a freshman, we felt he could help us," Hipp said. "He really didn't play like a freshman. He looked like a junior. When it came down to closing it out ... he didn't get nervous or anything. He stayed really calm and confident, and it didn't affect him at all."
Max Wimmer continues to impress, delivering a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Tony Rajaobelina at No. 3 singles. He and partner Leo Vivas also came up with the second doubles point for Barry, beating Elio Latella and Felipe Frattini, 8-5, at No. 3 pairs.
"Max is playing well," Hipp said. "He played a good match today."
Marco Mokrzycki and Fabian Groetsch have developed a chemistry on the court together at the No. 1 doubles flight, and Friday it was alive again. The No. 2-ranked German pair rolled to an 8-2 win over Kevin Ducros and Bruno Savi for the Bucs' first point.
"Marco and Fabian played really well in the doubles," Hipp said. "Costa and Ollie played well, too, but they weren't able to capitalize."
Romain Costamagna and Ollie Lemaitre lost to Rajaobelina and Domenico Sano, 8-6, at No. 2 doubles. Costamagna, whose confidence has been growing of late, picked up a 6-2, 6-3 singles victory over Frattini at the No. 5 flight.
Barry's Renato Lombardi pushed Latella in the second set before succumbing, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) at No. 4. Ranked 16th in the contry, Groetsch lost to 13th-ranked Ducros, 6-3, 6-1, at the top flight. Mokrzycki, ranked No. 7, battled the fifth-ranked Savi before falling, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (6-2) at No. 2.
This rivalry with the Argonauts hit another crescendo Friday, but the Buccaneers made the most of it on this day.
"The team was very together," Alfonzo said. "We were supporting each other. That's very important because in the match sometimes you need extra energy, and everybody was there to provide the will to keep fighting. It's always motivating because you want to beat the best guys. This was a very important win for our season to get the result."