April 9, 2011

Girling, Harris face final home matches as Tech hosts two OVC rivals

Special weekend for Golden Eagle seniors

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Lloyd Harris and Josh Girling have combined to travel nearly  10,000 miles to attend Tennessee Tech and play tennis for the Golden Eagles. This weekend, their journey reaches a milestone as they play their final matches on the TTU campus courts.

Coach Kenny Doyle's team hosts a pair of Ohio Valley Conference matches and the two seniors have a chance to help clinch the regular season championship. Tech enters this crucial weekend on a three-match winning streak, owning a 7-7 overall record and a 4-1 worksheet in the OVC.

On Saturday, Tech hosts Morehead State at 1 p.m. With a win against the Eagles (8-8/1-3 OVC), Tech will head into Sunday's contest against league-leading Eastern Kentucky (16-4/4-0 OVC) with a chance to share the title with the Colonels. EKU was picked in the preseason coach's poll to win the title and Tech was tabbed for second place.

Tech will hold a brief "Senior Sendoff" for Harris and Girling prior to the start of Sunday's match.

Harris is wrapping up his fourth season in the Golden Eagle lineup. He came to Tech in 2007-08 from Johannesburg, South Africa, and has been a team leader throughout his career. He owns a career 39-36 record, including a 24-20 record in doubles play.

Girling also came to Tech from "across the pond" from Winchester, England and is finishing his third season on the Golden Eagle roster after spending his freshman year at Fairleigh Dickinson University. In his three seasons at Tech, Girling has produced a 68-50 overall record, including a 37-30 record in singles matches and a 31-20 mark in doubles. 

After dropping a 5-2 contest at Austin Peay last week, the Golden Eagles have bounced back to claim wins over Tennessee State, Murray State and Belmont. Tech is 1-0 at home this season, downing Eastern Illinois in their only previous appearance on the home courts.

Girling leads the team this year in overall wins with a 16-11 combined record in singles and double action. That includes a 4-1 singles mark in OVC play where he has typically filled the No. 2 position. He enters the weekend with a three-match win streak intact.

The team's top mark in league contests belongs to sophomore newcomer Vasily Eremeev at 5-0, including a current four-match win streak. The 5-0 record has Eremeev listed tops in the conference for best record in singles play this spring in the OVC. Junior Alex Chen is 4-1 and junior Justin Kirstein is 3-1.

The matches against Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky are the final action on the regular season schedule for the Golden Eagles. They will play in the OVC Tournament in Paducah, Ky., April 15-17, with hopes of advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the past 13 years. 

Admission is free for Tech's home matches.