Chen, Girling receive 2011 Golden Eagle Tennis Team awards

Chen, Girling receive 2011 Golden Eagle Tennis Team awards

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Junior Alex Chen received the Johnny Donnelly Maverick Award and senior Josh Girling was named the team's Most Valuable Player Thursday afternoon at the Tennessee Tech's tennis team's annual post-season awards picnic.

John and Marty Donnelly, who established the Maverick Award, were at the event to present the award named in memory of their son, Tech Sports Hall of Fame member Johnny Donnelly.

"The Maverick Award is given for determination, and this year it is truly appropriate," said John Donnelly. "Alex lost his father just before the OVC Tournament, but he still went out and won his match to clinch the first round win for his team. He played well at No. 1 all year, but it was really his determination and effort in the OVC Tournament that was the deciding factor."

Chen's father Sergey died suddenly just days before the OVC Tournament. After discussing the situation with coach Kenny Doyle, Chen, who hails from Samarkand, Uzbekistan, chose to stay and compete with his team in Paducah. The opening match was tied at 3-3 when Chen clinched his No. 1 singles victory to allow the Golden Eagles to advance. He also won his doubles contest.

Overall Chen posted an 11-12 record in singles play in 2010-11, including a 9-5 mark in dual matches during the spring. He was 4-2 in OVC regular season contests. It raised his career record in singles play to 38-38 his three seasons at Tech.

Doyle presented Girling (left) with the MVP award. The senior from Winchester, England, was 17-12 overall this season in singles play and 10-11 in doubles for a combined mark of 27-23. He bumped his career combined totals to 95-73, including 54-42 in singles action.

"Josh had a great fall season, getting some wins over ranked players," said Doyle. "He played some of the best tennis of his career in the fall, then he had a very solid spring."

Doyle also recognized the team's two outgoing seniors, Girling and Lloyd Harris.

"I really couldn't have asked for a better home, a better experience that I have had here," said Harris, an EXPW major from Johannesburg, South Africa who will attend commencement Saturday before heading to graduate school at Duke University. "These guys have become my family and I'm really going to miss them."