ORLANDO, Fla. – The ninth-seeded Saint Joseph's men's tennis team gutted out a big win on Thursday, eliminating eighth-seeded George Mason with a 4-2 victory in the first round of the 2018 Atlantic 10 Men's Tennis Championship at the USTA National Campus.

With the win, the Hawks move on to the quarterfinals, where they will meet top-seeded VCU on Friday.

George Mason took the lead early in the match, earning the doubles point with wins in the first and third flights.

Tim Stierle got the Hawks on level pegging with a first-flight singles win, topping Eddie Ayers, 6-2, 6-4. Johnnie Massart followed with a win in the fifth flight, 6-4, 6-4, over Pally Ray to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead.

The Patriots drew level with a win in the fourth flight, but Andre Fick's 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win in the second flight and Luis Janko's 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 result in the sixth pushed the Hawks over the threshold for victory.

“Although Luis clinched the match, it was senior Peter DeWitt who was the hero after coming back from a set down and 5-2 down in the second,” head coach Ian Crookenden said. “Peter fought back to eventually win the second set in a tiebreak, forcing a third set, but more importantly allowing wins by Andre and Johnnie to give the Hawks a 3-2 match lead before Luis clinched the match.

“It was a great victory, and we battle into the quarters, where we have a match with tourney favorites VCU.”

“After losing the doubles point, the team stepped up and brought everything they had in them to win four singles matches,” assistant coach Marc Pibernat said. “A big shout out to Luis for getting the clinch point...we are where we deserve to be with the hard work these players have put in. Tomorrow, it will be a great battle against the top seed, VCU, and we can't wait to play them!”

The quarterfinal matchup between the Hawks and the Rams is set for a 9:00 a.m. start on Friday morning.

#9 Saint Joseph's 4, #8 George Mason 2

Doubles
1. Daniel Gutierrez / Pally Ray (GMU) def. Tim Stierle / Andre Fick (SJU), 6-4
2. Jakob Nielsen / Eddie Ayers (GMU) led Peter DeWitt / Dan Tan (SJU), 6-5
3. Giuliano Buzoianu / Carter Bradford (GMU) def. Johnnie Massart / Scott Battaglia (SJU), 7-5
Order of Finish: 3, 1

Singles
1. Stierle (SJU) def. Ayers (GMU), 6-2, 6-4
2. Fick (SJU) def. Gutierrez (GMU), 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
3. Nielsen (GMU) led DeWitt (SJU), 6-4, 6-7 (4), 5-4
4. Bradford (GMU) def. Tan (SJU), 7-5, 6-4
5. Massart (SJU) def. Ray (GMU), 6-4, 6-4
6. Luis Janko (SJU) def. Buzoianu (GMU), 4-6, 6-0, 6-3
Order of Finish: 1, 5, 4, 2, 6

Game Scores
Singles: Saint Joseph's 80, George Mason 67
Doubles: George Mason 19, Saint Joseph's 14
Total: Saint Joseph's 94, George Mason 86

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