April 7, 2013

Golden Eagle streak reaches 15; Tech clinches top two finish in OVC


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – With a 5-2 victory Sunday over visiting Eastern Illinois, the Tennessee Tech tennis team improved to 7-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference and has clinched one of the top two seeds in the upcoming conference tournament.

Coach Kenny Doyle's squad ran its regular season OVC winning streak to 15 consecutive matches and improved to 14-0 all-time against the Panthers.

When the top six teams gather in Paducah, April 19-21, for the OVC Tournament, Tech and Austin Peay will be able to sit and watch the other four teams battle it out in the first round. The Golden Eagles and Govs have a first-round bye into the semifinals on Saturday.

Tech has two conference matches remaining, in addition to a non-conference contest at Lipscomb. The Golden Eagle will wrap up league play with road tests at Austin Peay and Murray State.

On Sunday, Tech used the same formula that has been successful throughout the conference slate, winning the doubles point and claiming enough singles wins for the match.

This time it was the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles teams that won. At No. 1, Alejandro Augusto and Syrym Abdukhalikov posted an 8-3 win over Michael Sperry and Warren Race. Down at No. 3, Alvaro Cintas and Othon Lima earned an 8-4 win over Rui Silva and David Constantinescu.

EIU's duo of Robert Skolik and Kevin Bauman won the middle doubles event in a tie-breaker, 8-7 (4) over Artem Tarazov and Vasily Eremeev.

The only point that EIU won on the courts came at No. 3 singles, where Skolik defeated Tarasov, 6-4, 2-6, 10-7. The other Panther point came at No. 6 singles, where Volodymyr Zverkovsky was declared a 1-0 winner as Arturo Santa had to step aside due to injury.

Abdukhalikov improved to 7-0 in OVC singles action with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Sperry. Alejandro Augusto also won in straight sets at No. 2 singles, downing Race, 6-3, 7-6.

Tech's other two points came at the No. 4 and No. 5 spots. At No. 4, Eremeev defeated Bauman, 6-3, 6-5, while the No. 5 match went to Cintas, 6-4, 6-1, over Zverkovsky.

Battling back from an 0-9 start in non-conference matches, the Golden Eagles are now 7-9 overall.  Tech plays at Lipscomb Thursday, then visits Austin Peay Saturday and Murray State Monday to wrap up the regular season.