Golden Eagles play first home match Sunday; Panthers visit for OVC play

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Idle for nearly a month, the Tennessee Tech men's tennis team hopes to shake off any rust Sunday when it hosts its first home match of the season. The Golden Eagles (3-4/1-0 OVC) host Eastern Illinois at noon on the campus tennis courts.

It's the first of just three home matches this season for the Golden Eagles, who are not at home again until April 9-10.

Tech is 11-0 all-time against Eastern Illinois, hoping to make it an even dozen with this week's contest. Four of those wins came in OVC Tournament play in Nashville. This meeting will be just the fourth time the two teams have battled in Cookeville.

The Panthers (2-8/0-0 OVC) will be playing their first Ohio Valley Conference matches of the season this weekend, visiting Tennessee State Saturday before venturing to Cookeville for the Sunday encounter. EIU will continue it's "southern' tour with a match at Jacksonville State Tuesday. EIU claimed a 7-0 victory over Kaskaskia College in their latest action a week ago.

EIU has found its most success this year in the hands of KEvin Bauman at No. 6 singles, where the freshman has posted a 5-1 record including his last three contests. Matyas Hilger has th next best singles record on the team, going 3-3 at No. 3 singles. In doubles play, the combo of Michael Sperry and Charlie Dryden are 3-5 at the No. 2 spot.

Tech has won three of its last four matches, including a 5-2 OVC triumph at Jacksonville on Feb. 20, the last time coach Kenny Doyle's team saw action.

Senior Josh Girling owns Tech's top overall record this year in singles play at 12-9 including tournament action in the fall. During the spring dual match season, the team leader has been junior Alex Chen at the No. 1 spot, going 5-2 including a 1-0 record in the OVC. In doubles play, Chen and junior Justin Kirstein lead Tech with a 3-3 record in dual matches.

After Sunday's play, the Golden Eagles hit the road to Radford, Va., for three matches late next week. Tech plays Georgia Washington University on Friday (March 25) and Charlotte on Saturday (March 26) before facing host Radford University on Sunday (March 27).

Admission is free for all Tech tennis matches.