By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Tennessee Tech tennis team certainly embraced the opportunity to participate in the nation's longest-running college tournament, as the Golden Eagles secured a 4-2 victory over the host, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, in the first round of the H-E-B Tournament of Champions.
Tech's win over the Islanders (10-4) that helped kick off the 53rd straight year of the tournament, pushed the Golden Eagles to the semifinals, where they were eventually upended 4-3 by an undefeated Troy team. TTU (3-7) will square off with UTSA Saturday at 10 a.m. CT in the third-place match, while Troy (10-0) will greet Louisiana in the championship.
Fresh off his OVC Male Tennis Athlete of the Week honor, Wenceslao Albin helped highlight the day for the purple and gold with singles wins in both matches to push his spring ledger to 5-4.
Albin was one of three Golden Eagles to collect a singles victory in the opener with A&M-Corpus Christi, a key factor in Tech's first-round triumph. Freshmen Rafael Tosetto and Elias Grubert paved the way at the top of the lineup, while Albin took care of business near the bottom with a straight-set, 6-4, 6-4 win over Thibault Frumholz out of the No. 5 spot.
Tosetto registered an 8-7, 7-6 win over William Mottet in the No. 1 battle and Grubert showed resiliency as part of a 6-1, 1-6, 8-6 nod against Thomas Rodrigues Lopes in the No. 2 clash.
The Islanders picked up singles wins in the No. 3 and No. 4 affairs, as Carlos Pedrosa Cuevas defeated Carlos Vicente, 7-6, 7-5, in the No. 3 position, while Okkie Kllerman secured a 6-4, 5-7, 6-0 win over Gonzalo Garcia in the No. 4 slot.
The No. 6 matchup pitting Lucca Silva and Kyohei Yamanaka did not finish.
The Golden Eagles raced out to an early edge in the match with wins out of the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles battles en route to clinching the point. Carlos Vicente and Gonzalo Garcia took down William Mottet and Thomas Rodrigues Lopes, 6-4, in the No. 1 position and Rafael Tosetto and Lucca Silva powered past Thibault Frumholz and Carlos Pedrosa Cuevas, 6-2, in the No. 3 tilt.
Tech was unable to find similar success in its semifinals bout with Troy, dropping two of the three doubles matchups, which put the Trojans ahead early. Gonzalo Garcia and Carlos Vicente did pick up a 6-4 win over Christoper Tasker and Luis Foix in the No. 1 slot, but the Golden Eagles would fall in the final two battles.
Jiaqi Duan and Pelayo Antuna narrowly edged Albin and Kubota, 7-6, in the No. 2 clash and Jorge Poyatos and Oskar Michalek defeated the tandem of Tosetto and Silva, 6-1, in the No. 3 duel.
Down 1-0, the Golden Eagles fought tooth and nail, but with the six singles clashes ending in a 3-3 split, the Trojans ended up with a 4-3 victory.
Tech's singles success came out of the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 positions. Carlos Vicente notched a 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 win over Manuel Bernard in the No. 3 spot, while Gonzalo Garcia pushed his way to a 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Christopher Tasker in the No. 4 position and Wenceslao Albin displayed resiliency behind a 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 nod against Jiaqi Duan in the No. 5 slot.
Troy's top two in the lineup both carded victories, as Pelayo Antuna took down Rafael Tosetto, 6-4, 7-5, in the No. 1 matchup and Oskar Michalek defeated Elias Grubert, 6-2, 5-7, 7-5, in the No. 2 clash.
Jorge Poyatos helped round out the Trojans' trio of singles wins with a 6-1, 7-6 triumph over Lucca Silva in the No. 6 affair.
Third-place will be on the line Saturday morning for the Golden Eagles, as Tech will greet UTSA Saturday at 10 a.m. for a chance at bronze in the field of eight.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information