By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
ATHENS, Ga. - After four days of competition at one of the premier college tournaments in the nation, the Tennessee Tech men's tennis team collected valuable experience during the Southern Intercollegiate Championships over the weekend.
With three divisions of singles play and two divisions of double play featuring players from 28 colleges and universities, there were plenty of opportunities for the Golden Eagles to wet their wings against some different competition.
But as luck would have it, two different Tech players got an early look at some of their Ohio Valley Conference opponents.
Nebraska transfer sophomore Gagan Jain finished 1-2 in the tournament, falling to Alabama's Andrew Goodwin, 6-4, 6-0, in early action on Friday. He rebounded nicely in the Division II consolation bracket, taking down Murray State's Max McLean, 6-3, 1-6, 1-0 (1) on Saturday. He finished the tournament with a loss to Justin Guay of Portland, falling 6-3, 7-6 (3).
Also showing some strength over an OVC foe was Alberto Estaban. Charlotte's Forrest Edwards took down the freshman on Friday, 7-5, 6-0 before he bounced back for a 6-2, 6-0 win over Murray State's Aleks Mitric on Saturday.
Vasily Eremeev drew a very tough match-up on Friday, falling to the No. 3 seeded Nathan Pash of host Georgia, 6-1, 6-3. The veteran then found himself in another rough draw, as Florida Atlantic's Will Neuner defeated him 6-1, 6-1 on Saturday.
Elsewhere in Division I singles action was Oklahoma State transfer Oleksiy Arovin, who fell on Friday to Juan Pablo Boada of Winthrop, 6-3, 6-3. The sophomore advanced to the second round of the consolation bracket after Ryan Lipman of Vanderbilt withdrew. Arovin then lost a close battle against Ratan Gill of Portland, barely falling, 7-6, 2-6, 1-0 (5).
Artem Tarasov had a tough first-round draw, losing to Mason Vierra of Vanderbilt in the Division III singles bracket, 6-2, 6-1. The junior then fell to another in-state rival as East Tennessee State's Connor Knox dispatched him, 6-1, 6-1 on Saturday.
The Golden Eagles sent two doubles teams to Athens as Arovin teamed up with Esteban and Eremeev competed with Tarasov. The team of Arovin/Esteban couldn't quite get past the Portland combo of Alex Ferrero and Ratan Gill, falling 8-5 in Friday action.
The duo of Eremeev/Tarasov faired a little better, defeating its first competition in the form of an 8-5 win over Georgia Southern's Christian Kerrigan and Rafael Racy. The Golden Eagle combo would fall in a close one on Saturday, losing to Chris Barrus and Reece Acree of Central Florida, 8-7.
The Tech squad will have just over a week to rest before heading out for separate events beginning Sept. 27 with the UTC/Baras Fall Classic in Chattanooga Tenn. Also starting just one day later are the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla. The Golden Eagles will send members of the team to both tournaments.