By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
DES MOINES, Iowa – Career firsts by a pair of Golden Eagle freshmen helped highlight the day, but it ultimately wasn't enough in a 5-2 loss to Northern Illinois in the Tennessee Tech tennis team's second match of the season.
Rookies Rafael Tosetto and Elias Grubert collected their first singles wins of the young year, accounting for Tech's points in Sunday's battle with the Huskies (1-1). Tosetto, a native of Jacarei, Brazil, impressed with a straight-set, 6-4, 6-4 nod over NIU's No. 1 Kirstopher Ortega, while Grubert soared to a straight-set, 6-3, 6-2 victory against Bor Schweiger Muzar in the No. 4 spot.
Freshman Carlos Vicente, the third in a trio of Golden Eagle rookies in the singles rotation, nearly came out on top in a three-set thriller with Mikko Malinen in the No. 6 clash. Vicente edged Malinen, 7-6, in the first set, but fell 6-1 in the second set and 7-6 in the finale.
Senior Wenceslao Albin, who registered a singles win in Saturday's opener at Drake, fell 7-5, 6-3 to David Pata in the No. 3 position. Junior Fanis Kontopoulos put up a similar showing out of the No. 2 slot, falling in a tightly-contested first set, 7-6, before dropping the second set, 6-2, to Eric Marbach. Gonzalo Garcia was also upended in a close one to Victor Spolidorio in the No. 5 battle as the Tech sophomore out of Barcelona, Spain was tripped up 6-4 in the first set and 7-6 in the second.
NIU raced out to a 1-0 lead in the contest after securing the doubles point, however the Golden Eagles did claim a win in the No. 2 slot. The tandem of Wenceslao Albin and Riku Kubota, who won their doubles clash in the season opener at Drake, notched a win for the second consecutive day with a 6-3 triumph over Bor Schweiger Muzar and David Pata.
NIU's Eric Marbach and Kristopher Ortega took down Marc Mila and Fanis Kontopoulos, 7-5, in the No. 1 position and Miko Malinen and Victor Spolidorio slipped past Gonzalo Garcia and Rafael Tosetto, 7-6, in the No. 3 spot.
Tech (0-2) will conclude its trip to Des Moines with a Monday match against Illinois State. The battle with the Redbirds is scheduled for 10 a.m. CT.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information