MURRAY, KY. – The Tennessee Tech tennis team swept its Ohio Valley Conference regular-season schedule by defeating Murray State 5-2 Sunday. The Golden Eagles own a 9-9 overall record, and a perfect 9-0 mark in league play.
Sunday's win marks Tech's second consecutive OVC Championship and their 17th straight OVC win. Last season, the Golden Eagles went 8-0 in conference play, and followed it up by going 9-0 this year. The Golden Eagles enter next week's conference tournament in Paducah, Ky. with the No. 1 seed.
Four Golden Eagles claimed straight set victories, as senior Syrym Abdukhalikov went undefeated in conference at the No. 1 spot in singles play this season, possessing a perfect 9-0 record. Tech also never failed to secure the doubles point, where the duo of Abdukhalikov and sophomore Alejandro Augusto went 9-0 in league play at the No.1 spot, and junior Vasily Eremeev and sophomore Artem Tarasov went 7-1 at the No. 2 spot.
Tech captured the doubles point after Abdukhalikov and Augusto defeated the Racers' Adam Taylor and Ryan Kennedy, 8-5 in the No. 1 spot. Eremeev and Tarasov outdueled Nik Mitric and Aleks Mitric, 8-3 in the No. 2 spot. The No. 3 spot went unfinished after the point was decided.
In singles play, Abdukhalikov defeated Taylor in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4, in the No. 1 spot. In the No. 2 spot, Augusto suffered his first defeat of conference play, falling to Tyler Jeffers in two hard fought sets, 7-5, 7-6.
Tech claimed the match in the bottom of its roster, as the Nos. 4, 5, and 6 positions all won in straight sets. Eremeev made quick work of N. Mitrick, 6-2, 6-3, which capped off an unblemished record of 8-0 for the Russian native. In the five spot, freshman Alvaro Cintas defeated A. Mitrick, 6-2, 6-2, for his third conference victory of the season. Another TTU freshman, Othon Lima, defeated Racer Stegan Musa, 6-1, 6-1.
As the top seed in the OVC Tournamament, the Golden Eagles have a bye for Friday's first round matches. Tech will play Saturday in the seminfinals against the winner of the four and five seeds. Saturday's match is at 2 p.m.
The three-day event, which is being hosted by Austin Peay, will be held April 19-21 at the Heflin Tennis Center in Paducah, KY.
A win Saturday would put Tech into the championship match on Sunday at 2 p.m., with the winner receiving the league's automatic entry into the NCAA Tournament.