By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Another championship-draped campaign concluded for the Tennessee Tech tennis team Friday afternoon as the Golden Eagles were upended 4-0 at No. 7 Mississippi State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Tech's historical 2018 season, which featured the program's first ever three-peat in the OVC Tournament, ended with yet another sterling showing by one of the best to ever wear the purple and gold. No. 66 Eduardo Mena, who has a knack for rising to the occasion, did so yet again in his final clash as part of Tech's squad.
At the time that his singles bout went unfinished due to the Bulldogs (21-2) earning the match's fourth point, Mena was leading the second-ranked player in the country and two-time SEC Player of the Year, Nuno Borges. Mena captured a riveting first set, 7-6 (11-9), in the tilt's top spot to go up 1-0, and trailed 3-2 in the second set.
Jorge Alfonzo also seized a set over No. 84 Strahinja Rakic in the No. 3 battle, courtesy of a 6-3 nod in the second set. Alfonzo fell 6-2 in the first set and was behind 1-0 in the third at the time that his matchup went unfinished.
Gonzalo Garcia's get together with Floridan Broska in the No. 5 position also went unfinished after Broska took the first set 6-1 and led 4-3 in the second.
TTU (10-12) dropped three singles affairs in the No. 2, No. 4 and No. 6 slots. No. 23 Giovanni Oradini bested Wenceslao Albin 6-1, 7-5 in the No. 2 battle, while Niclas Braun edged Riku Kubota 6-0, 6-3, in the No. 4 tilt and Trevor Foshey upended Arthur Justo 6-2, 6-1 in the No. 6 spot.
The Bulldogs won the doubles point behind nods in two of the three tandem battles. Nuno Borges and Strahinja Rakic topped Arthur Justo and Marc Mila 6-1 in the No. 1 clash and Niclas Braun and Giovanni Oradini secured a 6-3 victory over Wenceslao Albin and Riku Kubota in the No. 2 position.
Although the season came to a close, the tale of 2018 Golden Eagle tennis still has another chapter. Eduardo Mena will take aim in the NCAA Division I singles championships, May 23-28 at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex. Stay posted to ttusports.com as well as the Tech Athletics Facebook and Twitter for updates on Mena's run, as well as a bracket announcement once it's made available.
#7 Mississippi State 4, Tennessee Tech 0
1. Nuno Borges / Strahinja Rakic (MSU) def. Arthur Justo / Marc Mila (TTU) 6-1
2. Niclas Braun / Giovanni Oradini (MSU) def. Wenceslao Albin / Riku Kubota (TTU) 6-3
3. Florian Broska / Trevor Foshey (MSU) vs. Gonzalo Garcia / Eduardo Mena (TTU) 5-2, unfinished
1. #2 Nuno Borges (MSU) vs. #66 Eduardo Mena (TTU) 6-7 (9-11), 3-2, unfinished
2. #23 Giovanni Oradini (MSU) def. Wenceslao Albin (TTU) 6-1, 7-5
3. #84 Strahinja Rakic (MSU) vs. Jorge Alfonzo (TTU) 6-2, 3-6, 1-0, unfinished
4. Niclas Braun (MSU) def. Riku Kubota (TTU) 6-0, 6-3
5. Florian Broska (MSU) vs. Gonzalo Garcia (TTU) 6-1, 4-3, unfinished
6. Trevor Foshey (MSU) def. Arthur Justo (TTU) 6-2, 6-1
Photo by Blake Williams, Mississippi State