By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech tennis team was back in action this past weekend, as the Golden Eagles participated in the USTA/ITA Regional Championships hosted by the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Head coach Kenny Doyle traveled four Tech players to the event, and the Golden Eagles showed some early success, combining for four singles victories.
Doubles play kicked things off for the Tech squad, with Oklahoma State transfer Oleksiy Arovin and freshman Alberto Esteban teaming up for the first round of action for the Golden Eagles. The Tech duo faced off against Vanderbilt's team of Anton Kovrigin and Jeff Offerdahl, who ultimately handed the two Golden Eagles an 8-4 defeat.
Also representing Tech in doubles play was the team of senior Vasily Eremeev and junior Artem Tarasov. The two received a first-round bye before taking on the Vanderbilt duo of Suresh Eswaran and Kris Yee. The Commodores' doubles defeated Eremeev/Tarasov 8-4 to advance to the Round of 16.
On the singles side of play, Esteban helped spark some success for the Golden Eagles, defeating IUPUI's Akshay Verma, 6-4, 6-2. The freshman drew a tough match-up against the No. 1 ranked Mikelis Libietis of Tennessee in the next round, falling to the Vol veteran, 6-2, 6-3.
Eremeev also provided some early progress for Tech, taking down Ohio Valley Conference foe Ji Hoon Heo of Morehead State in a thrilling 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 match to advance to the Round of 64. The wiley veteran was then pitted against 17th ranked Albert Wagner of Louisville and fell in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.
Arovin enjoyed the most success of the Golden Eagle quartet, earning a first-round victory over IUPUI's Pat O'Neil (6-1, 6-1) and a second-round win against OVC foe Jasmin Ademovic of Austin Peay (6-3, 6-0). The sophomore eventually fell to ninth-seeded David Fox, who represented in-state rival Middle Tennessee with a 6-4, 6-1 defeat of the Golden Eagle.
Tarasov fell to Murray State's Adam Taylor in the first round, 6-4, 6-2 and earned a spot in the consolation bracket. He then drew Butler's Sam Oneill for a match-up that ended with the Bulldog winning 6-2, 6-1.
The Golden Eagles will head back out to the courts again on Friday, Oct. 18 as the team heads to the Grizzly Open in Lawrenceville, Ga. The event is set to run from Friday to Monday, Oct. 21.