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April 10, 2011

Colonels overpower Tech to clinch Ohio Valley Conference title

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech had a chance to clinch a share of the 2011 Ohio Valley Conference men's tennis regular season championship Sunday. All the Golden Eagles needed to do was knock off preseason favorite and unbeaten Eastern Kentucky.

It didn't happen. The Golden Eagles, bidding farewell to seniors Lloyd Harris (in photo) and Josh Girling in the team's final home match of the year, weren't able to crack the EKU lineup in a 7-0 loss to the Colonels. EKU, picked in the preseason to win the crown, finished the year with an unblemished 7-0 mark in conference play and improved to 19-4 overall.

The Golden Eagles wrapped up with an 8-8 overall record and 5-2 within the league heading into the OVC Tournament in Paducah, Ky., next weekend.

Tech got one victory during the warm, three-hour match on the TTU campus courts. Artura Santa Ruiz and James Crawford managed an 8-5 victory at No. 3 doubles over Nik Schroeder and Parul Verma.

Other than that, EKU staked wins in every other contest, including four of six singles events in straight sets.

The Colonels nabbed the doubles point and a 1-0 lead in the match with wins by Alex Das and Philip Janz at No. 1, and Hugo Klientovsky and Carles Pons at No. 2.

In the singles portion of the afternoon action, EKU gained straight set wins by Das at No. 1, Schroeder at No. 3, Janz at No. 4 and Verma at No. 5.

In the No. 2 battle, Golden Eagle Justin Kirstein waged a fight with Klientovsky before bowing. Klientovsky took the tiebreaker, 7-6 (7-5), for the first set before Kirstein evened things in the second with a 7-5 win. In the final set, Klientivsky outlasted Kirstein, 14-12, in an epic confrontation.

It was a similar story at No. 6, which eventually went to Pons with a 10-3 in the third set over Crawford.