LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Sophomore Justin Kirstein won three consecutive matches at the Louisville Fall Invitational this past weekend to capture the flight "C" singles championship. The Johannesburg, South Africa native defeated Andrew Swanson of Western Kentucky (6-0, 6-1) and Jonas Imhof of Vincennes (6-0, 7-5) to move into the finals where Kirstein dropped Micah LeMoine of IU Southeast in three sets (6-3, 4-6, 6-4).
In flight "B" singles, two Golden Eagles played on Sunday as junior Josh Girling played for the tournament title and freshman Nick Stafford attempted to take home the consolation championship. Girling - who defeated Philip Janz of Eastern Kentucky (6-2, 6-1), Taylor Patrick of Tennessee (6-1, 2-6, 7-5) and Skip Span of IU Southeast (6-4, 6-3) - narrowly missed his fourth consecutive win as he fell to Filip Miljevic of IU Southeast (6-2, 4-6, 7-5) in three sets.
Stafford, playing in his first collegiate tournament, rebounded from an opening round loss to Miljevic (6-4, 6-0) to rattle off wins against Arul Selvan of Western Kentucky (6-0, 6-7, 6-2) and Max Coomer of IU Southeast (6-4, 6-2) to set up a meeting with Priyank Gangadharran of Western Kentucky in the final. Stafford was able to break Gangadharran late in both sets of the consolation championship match to squeeze out a 7-5, 7-5 straight-sets win.
Sophomore Alex Chen competed in flight "A" singles for TTU but could not come up with a win. Chen fell in his first round match to Max Stevens of Tennessee (6-2, 6-2), sending the Samarkand, Uzbekistan native to the consolation bracket. In a closely contested match against Sumit Gupta of Louiville, Chen lost in the third-set tie-breaker, 6-7 (7-4), 6-4, 7-6 (13-11) to be eliminated from the tournament.
In doubles action, both Tech doubles teams fell in their opening round matches. Chen/Girling, playing in flight "A" doubles, dropped a tie-breaker, 7-4, while Stafford/Kirstein, playing in flight "B" doubles, lost 8-4 to Patrick/Stevens of Tennessee.
Both teams rebounded in the consolation bracket with wins in their next matches. Chen/Girling defeated Anderson/Bryan of Morehead State (8-4) but fell in the consolation championship match to Krug/Martin of Western Kentucky (8-6). Stafford/Kirstein defeated Reichelt/Hobson of IU Southeast (8-6) to move into the consolation championship, but that match was never played.
The men's tennis team returns to action this weekend. Some players will be traveling to the Southern Intercollegiates in Athens, Ga., while others will attend the East Tennessee State Invitational. Both tournaments are scheduled for September 18-20.