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April 18, 2010

Golden Eagles fall short, lose 4-2 to EKU in OVC Championship

PADUCAH, Ky. – Top-seeded Eastern Kentucky grabbed an early lead in Sunday’s Ohio Valley Conference men's tennis championship match, fueling the Colonels toward the OVC title with a 4-2 victory over No. 2 seeded Tennessee Tech.

The Golden Eagles were bidding for their fifth OVC Tournament championship since 1990, and reached the finals on the strength of a 4-1 victory Saturday over Murray State in the semifinals.

However, after dropping the doubles point the Golden Eagles -- while keeping things close -- couldn't muster enough singles wins to earn the title.

EKU earned the doubles point with victories at the second and third spots. At No. 2, the Colonels got an 8-4 win from Hugo Klientovsky and Carlos Pons over Arturo Santa Ruiz and Oscar Pachon.

The Golden Eagle No. 1 doubles tandem of Nick Stafford and Josh Girling earned an 8-5 decision over Nik Schroeder and Phillip Janz to knot the match. 

The difference came in the middle doubles contest, where Alex Chen (pictured) and Lloyd Harris held a 7-5 lead. EKU's pair of Alex Das and Carlos Valdenebro rallied to capture four straight sets and clinch the doubles point with a 9-7 victory.

That meant Tech needed four singles wins to claim the crown, and the Golden Eagles stepped onto the courts up to the challenge. Girling, Pachon and Justin Kirstein at No. 4 grabbed first set wins and Santa Ruiz went to the wire in his first set before falling in a tie-breaker, 8-6.

Girling, at No. 2 singles, went on to post a 6-0, 6-2 win over Schroeder, and Pachon completed a quick 6-1, 6-0 win over Pon at No. 6, putting Tech ahead in the match, 2-1.

But Tech's ride ended there. Klientovsky earned a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Stafford at No. 3, and Valdenebro went on to defeat Santa Ruiz, 7-6 (8-6), 6-0 at No. 5, putting EKU on top 3-2. At No. 1, Das outdueled Chen, 6-3, 6-2, to clinch the championship.

The match at No. 4 was suspended.

OVC Championship
Eastern Kentucky 4, Tennessee Tech 2
Sunday, April 18, 2010/Paducah, Ky.

Singles
1. Alex Das (EKU) def. Alex Chen (TTU) 6-3, 6-2
2. Josh Girling (TTU) def. Nik Schroeder 6-0, 6-2
3. Hugo Klientovsky (EKU) def. Nick Stafford 6-0, 6-2
4. Phillip Janz (EKU) vs. Justin Kirstein unfinished
5. Carlos Valdenebro (EKU) Dee. Arturo Santa Ruiz 7-6 (8-6), 6-0
6. Oscar Pachon (TTU) def. Carlos Pon 6-1, 6-0

Doubles
1. Girling/Stafford(TTU) def. Schroeder/janz (EKU) 8-5
2. Das/Valdenebro (EKU) def. Chen/Harris (TTU) 9-7
3. Klientovsky/Pons (EKU) def. Santa Ruiz/ Pachon (TTU) 8-4