Tech falls by slimmest of margins to Butler, 4-3

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – After coming back to tie the match at 3-3, the Tennessee Tech men's tennis team dropped a heart breaking match at number six singles to fall to the host Bulldogs of Butler, 4-3.

Tech (1-4) returns to action in three weeks when they travel to West Florida on March 12. The women's team will join them in a match with the Div. II powerhouse.

The doubles competition provided a glimpse of what was to come in singles play, as all three bouts required nine points for a win - including two that went to tiebreakers.

Butler got on the board first, as the No. 2 doubles tandem of Ben Raynauld and Chris Herron held off a tough Golden Eagle duo for a 9-8 (3) win. The top Bulldog pair fell just short in their battle for the opening point, as Bryce Warren and McLoughlin dropped a 9-8 (4) battle at No. 1 to bring the doubles competition back to even at 1-1.

Zach Ervin and Lenz Theodor came up big when Butler needed it, though, scoring a 9-7 decision at No. 3 to give the Bulldogs an early - and, what would prove to be critical - 1-0 lead in the match.

The singles competition featured much of the same nip-and-tuck play, as the top three positions needed three sets to be decided.

"It was a very, very tough match," said coach Dan Silverstein. "They played hard and the match would have gone the other way in only a few points."

No. 113 sophomore Dean O'Brien continued his win streak this spring and improve to 5-0 with a three set win at number one. TTU answered with wins at No. 3 and No. 5, however, to bring the contest back to even at 3-3 before McLoughlin provided the deciding margin.