Tech Men's Tennis downs EIU to advance to OVC Semis

PADUCAH, Ky. - Led by OVC Player of the Year Dean O'Brien and Freshman of the Year Justin Kirstein, the Tennessee Tech men's tennis team advanced to the semi-finals of the 2009 OVC Tennis Championship with a 4-1 win over Eastern Illinois on Friday afternoon.

The Golden Eagles took the doubles point and followed that up with wins at number one, four and five to claim the win.

"The guys fought hard out there today," said coach Dan Silverstein. "They played like a team to get the win and they all wanted to win this for each other."

Tech got things started off by winning at number two doubles when the team of sophomore Lloyd Harris and freshman Alex Chen took an 8-4 win from Matyas Hilgert and Vance Davis. At number three, Kirstein teamed up with Oscar Pachon to take the 8-5 win from Jeff Rutherford and Jamie Firth to clinch the doubles point for the Golden Eagles.

Singles picked up right where Tech wanted it to.

Pachon and Kirstein carried their doubles success into singles, both picking up straight sets wins to give Tech the 3-0 lead. The Panthers' lone point came at number two where sophomore Josh Girling fell to Jordan Nestrund.

No. 110 O'Brien started off slowly, allowing Rutherford to claim the first set 6-4, but Tech's standout sophomore rebounded and only allowed him to win one more game on the way to picking up the 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 win. It marks the second straight season that O'Brien has earned at least 18 wins in a single season.

Tech (12-7) advances to play No. 2 Jacksonville State in the OVC Semi-finals Saturday at 2 p.m. in Paducah, Ky. The winner of the match will play the winner of No. 1 Eastern Kentucky and No. 4 Murray State for the OVC Tournament Title on Sunday at 2 p.m.