COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Until Saturday, Eastern Kentucky had
captured 25 consecutive regular season Ohio Valley Conference men's
tennis match victories.
Tennessee Tech stunned the Colonels, snapping their winning streak that dated all the way back into the 2008 season, as the Golden Eagles captured a 4-3 victory on the Tech campus courts.
After winning the doubles point, the Golden Eagles got straight set singles victories from Justin Kirstein and Vasily Eremeev, then claimed the clinching point when freshman Alejandro Augusto (photo at right) won his contest, 6-2, 7-5, at No. 3 singles.
Tech (3-7/1-0 OVC) is right back in action Sunday when it hosts Morehead State at 12 p.m. EKU, meanwhile, slipped to 12-7 overall and 2-1 within the OVC.
EKU had won regular season OVC titles in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and captured the tournament titles in 2010 and 2011. The Colonels had won 25 consecutive regular season OVC matches, dating back to the close of the 2008 season. EKU was 8-0 in 2009 and 7-0 both in 2010 and last year. This year, they were 2-0.
"This was a big win for us, but it's only the beginning," said
third-year coach Kenny Doyle.
Tech, which has now won two straight, was ready for success when the teams hits the courts at 10:30 a.m., a starting time that was moved up from the original noon starting time when the weather forecast called for rain later in the day.
The Golden Eagles got an 8-3 win from Artem Tarasov and Eremeev at the No. 2 spot over Nik Schroeder and Phil Janz, and clinched the doubles point when Augusto and Kirstein put an 8-4 win into the books at the No. 3 position over Pavel Verma and Craig Campbell.
EKU's No. 1 tandem of Hugo Klientovsky and Carles Pons managed an 8-6 win over Syrym Abduhkalikov and Alex Chen in the No. 1 match.
Up 1-0 in the match, Tech raced to an early lead by winning the first set in five of the six singles events. Klientovsky outlasted Abduhkalikov at No. 1, 7-6 (7) in the opening set and went on to win with a 6-0 margin in the second set.
But down at the lower end of the lineup, Kirstein made it a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Pons at No. 5, and Eremeev put away Campbell, 6-0, 6-4, at No. 6, giving Tech a 3-1 lead for the afternoon.
Needing just one more point to win the match, the Golden Eagles got an outstanding effort from Augusto at No. 3. After a 6-2 first-set victory, the January addition to the Golden Eagle lineup from Madrid won 7-5 over Janz for the victory.
EKU's Schroeder and Verma came back to win their matches, both in three sets, for the final 4-3 count. Verma upended Tarasov, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0, at No. 4, and the last match to finish went to Schroeder when he outlasted Chen, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 2.
The win also snapped a four-match win streak by EKU over the Golden Eagles, which included a 7-0 Colonel victory last year in Cookeville that clinched the OVC title for the EKU. Tech has now won 48 of 65 matches against EKU through the years.