By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech tennis team has reached rarified air. Simply put, they have done it again.
For the fourth consecutive season, the Golden Eagles reach the mountaintop as the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament champions after securing a 4-2 win over Jacksonville State in the finals from Nashville's Centennial Sportsplex.
TTU becomes the first four-peat champion since Middle Tennessee claimed eight straight titles back in the early to late 90s. The Golden Eagles are the only team out of the current six league members that have ever won four consecutive titles.
Overall, it is Tech's 10th OVC Tournament championship.
The Golden Eagles (10-13) displayed resiliency in this year's title-run after failing to claim the doubles point with losses out of the top two spots. The early setback did not faze the purple and gold, who rallied to capture four-of-five completed singles battles over the Gamecocks (13-7) to take the title.
Rafael Tosetto helped pave the way at the top of the Tech singles lineup with a 6-2, 6-2 win over JSU's No. 1 Aljaz Kaplja. Despite a Carlos Vicente 6-4, 6-0 loss to Joaquin Vallejo in the No. 2 spot, the Golden Eagles proved unaffected by the setback thanks to wins out of the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 6 battles.
Freshman Elias Grubert collected a hard-earned 7-6, 6-3 victory against Guillermo Agost in the No. 3 slot, while Riku Kubota picked up a 6-2, 6-0 nod over Alexander Vishnevskiy in the No. 4 clash and Fanis Kontopoulos took home a 6-2, 6-1 win against Jordi Blanchar out of the No. 6 slot.
The No. 5 battle did not finish with Wenceslao Albin and Sergio Lizarraga knotted at one set apiece.
JSU seized wins out of the top two doubles positions to take the early edge in the match. Aljaz Kaplja and Sergio Lizarraga defeated Gonzalo Garcia and Carlos Vicente, 6-1, in the top spot and Guillermo Agost and Jordi Blanchar notched a 6-2 victory over Riku Kubota and Wenceslao Albin in the No. 2 affair.
The NCAA Tournament selection show is scheduled for Monday, Apr. 29 at 5 p.m. CT. TTU Athletics will be hosting a viewing party free for all fans in the Eagles Nest on the fourth floor of the Hooper Eblen Center. Light refreshments will be served and those attending are encouraged to be there by 4:30 p.m.
The 2019 NCAA Tournament first and second rounds will occur May 3-5 in a variety of on-campus sites. The Round of 16 is slated for May 10-11. The rest of the tournament, including the semifinals and finals, will take place May 16-19 from the UTSA National Campus in Orlando, Fla.
Photo courtesy of Ohio Valley Conference