By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech tennis team ended the regular season with a 5-2 loss at Belmont, tying a ribbon on the conference slate with one loss and a bye in next week's OVC Tournament.
As the No. 2 seed, the Golden Eagles will greet the winner of No. 3 Jacksonville State and No.6 Eastern Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 21 in the day's first semifinal match. First serve from Nashville's Centennial Sportsplex is scheduled for 8 a.m. CT.
Tech (8-11, 5-1) raced out to a fast start in its regular season wrap up, clinching the doubles point with nods in the No. 2 and No. 3 matchups. The TTU tandem of Wenceslao Albin and Riku Kubota narrowly edged Stephen Goldman, 7-6, in the No. 2 position and Eduardo Mena and Gonzalo Garcia secured a 6-4 victory in the No. 3 spot.
Garcia's triumph pushed the 6-foot-3 freshman to a 10-5 doubles campaign, the only Golden Eagle to boast double-digit duo wins this spring.
Belmont (13-10, 6-0), who snapped Tech's 28-match regular season OVC winning streak, collected wins in five-of-six singles bouts en route to the victory.
Hendrik Inno snapped No. 62 Eduardo Mena's nine-match win streak with a 6-1, 2-6, 6-7 victory in the No. 1 affair. The loss was only the second in Mena's four-year career in purple gold, as the two-time OVC Player of the Year wraps up his regular season Tech tenure with a 26-2 all-time record against conference competition.
Riku Kubota's six-match heater also came to a close with a 6-3, 6-1 loss to Jake Briggs in the No. 6 spot.
Tech did triumph in the No. 5 slot behind a 6-4, 6-4 victory by freshman Gonzalo Garcia over Stephen Goldman.
The Bruins notched victories in the No. 2, 3 and 4 matchups. Marko Illic topped Wenceslao Albin, 6-4, 6-4, in the No. 2 battle. Vincent Sterkens captured a 7-5, 6-4 nod against Marc Mila in the No. 3 slot and Zak Khan hung on for a 7-5, 6-7, 6-2 win over Jorge Alfonzo in the No. 4 position.
Tech will enter the OVC Tournament as the two-time defending champion after capturing the crown in 2017 and 2016. TTU's semifinal clash against the winner of No. 3 Jacksonville State and No. 6 Eastern Illinois is set for Saturday, Feb. 21 at 8 a.m. CT.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information