BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. - It took the final match of the day to determine the outcome, and junior Justin Kirstein was the hero for Tennessee Tech as he claimed a tiebreaker win at No. 3 singles to give the Golden Eagles a 4-3 triumph at Gardner-Webb in men's tennis action Sunday afternoon.
Gardner-Webb (3-5) earned the doubles point to start the match, earning wins by Andrew Veeder and Andrew Carter at the No. 1 position and Julien Belair and Adam Knutsson-Sundblad at the No. 3 position.
Down 1-0. Tech saw the Runnin' Bulldogs earn a win at the No. 5 position to start singles play for a 2-0 lead when Roman Piftor downed Murilo Oliviera, 6-3, 6-4.
Coach Kenny Doyle's squad (2-4) battled back, earning wins at the No. 1 by Alex Chen, No. 6 by James Crawford, and No. 4 by Vasily Eremeev to take a 3-2 edge. Chen (6-2, 6-2) and Crawford (7-5, 6-3) won in staight sets, while Eremeev was stretched to the third set before claiming his point (7-5, 1-6, 6-4).
Gardner Webb tied up the match when Korhan Ates took down Josh Girling, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, at the No. 2 position, leaving the day's outcome in the hands of Kirstein. He defeated Knutsson-Sundblad in a third-set tiebreaker, 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(3), to clinch Tech's second road win of the season.
The Golden Eagles have nearly two weeks off, and will resume play at Troy State on Friday afternoon, Feb. 25. They stay in Alabama on that road trip to open Ohio Valley Conference play on Saturday, Feb. 6, with a match at Jacksonville State.
Tennessee Tech 4, Gardner-Webb 3
1. Andrew Veeder/Andrew Carter (GWU) def. James Crawford/Josh Girling (TTU) 8-5
2. Alex Chen/Justin Kirstein (TTU) def. Korhan Ates/Roman Piftor (GWU) 8-6
3. Julien Belair/Adam Knutsson-Sundblad (GWU) def Vasily Eremeev/Murilo Oliviera (TTU) 8-2
1. Alex Chen (TTU) def. Julien Belair (GWU) 6-2, 6-2
2. Korhan Ates (GWU) def. Josh Girling (TTU) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
3. Justin Kirstein (TTU) def. Adam Knutsson-Sundblad (GWU) 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(3)
4. Vasily Eremeev (TTU) def. Andrew Veeder (GWU) 7-5, 1-6, 6-4
5. Roman Piftor (GWU) def. Murilo Oliviera (TTU) 6-3, 6-4
6. James Crawford (TTU) def. Andrew Carter (GWU) 7-5, 6-3