By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech tennis team is off to Alabama for a pair of weekend clashes, as the Golden Eagles will tangle with Samford on Friday, Mar. 8 and UAB on Saturday, Mar. 9. Friday's match is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT, while Saturday's affair is set to begin at 1 p.m.
Tech (4-8) is coming a mild weekend of action that featured only one tilt after weather wreaked havoc on TTU's home opener. Originally slated for three matches in three days that included two contests in Cookeville, the Golden Eagles saw only one duel on the docket, but seized the opportunity with a 4-3 win at Chattanooga on Saturday, Mar. 2. Friday's previously scheduled home opener with Lipscomb was postponed to Mar. 25, while Sunday's Cookeville gathering against Troy was cancelled.
TTU's narrow nod over the Mocs featured stellar production from the bottom of the singles lineup. Despite falling in the top two slots, the Golden Eagles soared from spots 3-through-6 with straight-set victories out of all four positions.
Sophomore Gonzalo Garcia claimed a 6-4, 6-2 win in the No. 3 position, while Carlos Vicente secured a 7-5, 6-1 victory in the No. 4 clash and Wenceslao Albin took home a 6-2, 6-4 nod in the No. 5 meeting. Riku Kubota rounded out the quartet's success with a 6-2, 6-4 win in the No. 6 slot.
Garcia and Albin lead the Golden Eagles with six wins apiece, while freshman Rafael Tosetto has impressed in his rookie campaign with a club-best four victories out of the No. 1 position. The former OVC Male Tennis Athlete of the Week is also Tech's leader in tandem play with six doubles wins this spring.
A look at Samford
After a stretch that saw the Bulldogs (5-6) drop three out of four, Samford came roaring back with a 4-1 win at Presbyterian in the club's last match on Mar. 2. Daniel Orlita (No. 2), Sami Kirberg (No. 3) and Max Rebol (No. 5) all collected singles victories in the triumph. The Bulldogs also notched the doubles point in their battle with the Blue Hose.
Rebol is the squad-leader in singles wins with a 7-1 mark this spring, doing a bulk of the damage primarily out of the No. 6 spot with a 6-1 record in that position. The 5-foot-7 junior out of Atlanta, Ga. has also paced Samford in doubles play with an 8-2 tandem mark, going 8-1 out of the No. 3 slot. Sophomore Rossouw Norval has competed in nine of a possible 10 completed clashes out of the No. 1 singles position, posting a 3-6 record this season.
Former OVC counterparts, Samford has an 8-6 edge in the all-time series with the Golden Eagles. The two teams have not met since 2008.
A look at UAB
Before welcoming the purple and gold to Birmingham Saturday afternoon, the Blazers (5-5) will hook up with Alabama State on Friday at 1 p.m. UAB is coming off a 6-1 win over Alabama A&M in the squad's last contest on Mar. 2.
Behind a 4-0 record out of the No. 4 spot, Michael Lusovsky has posted a team-best 4-1 singles record this spring. Daniel Janko has also carded a quartet of singles nods behind a 2-3 mark out of the No. 2 position and identical 1-0 records out of the No. 3 and No. 4 slots. Roman Postolka has appeared more than any other Blazer in the No. 1 spot, notching a 2-3 record from the top position.
From a doubles perspective, Postolka and Lusovsky have teamed up to form one of the most formidable tandems in the nation with a nationally-ranking of No. 40. The pair is a perfect 4-0 this spring.
Tech and UAB have only locked up on the courts once, a Blazers' 9-0 win in 1985.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information