O'Brien knocks off No. 29 in singles, Tech drops two on road

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Tennessee Tech sophomore Dean O'Brien has started the 2009 tennis season with a 3-0 record, including a singles win over the 29th ranked player in the country in the second match of the season.

His success wasn't enough to prevent the Golden Eagles from dropping two close matches to open the season while visiting the Sunshine state, with losses to Florida A&M and No. 11 Florida State.

Tech opened the trip with a visit to Florida A&M. With only a week of practice and the weather cooler than normal for the area, the Golden Eagles fell to the host Rattlers, 5-2. O'Brien picked up his first win of the dual match season with a 7-5, 6-1 trouncing of Artiom Podgainii. Freshman Justin Kirstein picked up Tech's other singles win over Paul Paige, 6-2, 6-2.

Doubles saw FAMU claim two wins, but it was the duo of O'Brien and sophomore Josh Girling that got the win for the Golden Eagles 8-3.

With only a nights rest, Tech faced one of the best teams in country. Florida State, No. 11 in the pre-season polls, wanted to play singles first instead of doubles. It almost backfired.

The Seminoles got the first point of the match with a win at number two singles. But Tech rebounded at number five with a win from Kirstein over Drew Bailey, 6-4, 6-2.

With the score 3-1 in favor of FSU, O'Brien had the match of the day with a three-set win over No. 29 Clint Bowles at the top singles spot. The win moved O'Brien to 3-0 overall on the season.

"I told Dean that he is one of the top players in the country, and today proved it," Silverstein said. "A win of this caliber should shoot him up into the singles rankings."

Tech (0-2, 0-0 OVC) has less than a week before they travel once more, this time to Middle Tennessee State on Jan. 23. The match will be played indoors in Nashville.