By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- In their quest to capture a third consecutive Ohio Valley Conference regular season title -- and run their win streak in regular season OVC matches to 17 in a row -- the Tennessee Tech tennis team opens league play this weekend in an unfamiliar location: at home on the Tech campus courts.
After playing their first nine matches on the road, coach Kenny Doyle's team gets its first action at home with matches Saturday and Sunday. Murray State visits Saturday for an 11 a.m. contest, while Austin Peay comes to town Sunday, with first serve scheduled for noon.
Admission is free for the matches.
The rivalry with Murray State has gone through two distinct periods. The Racers owned Tech from 1978 through 1995, and won numerous OVC titles. Since 1996, however, the Golden Eagles have piled up a 20-3 record against Murray State, including 12 wins in a row. Last year in Murray, the Golden Eagles ran their win streak to a dozen with a 5-2 victory.
The Racers come to town with a 1-5 overall record this spring, losing earlier this week to Middle Tennessee and Chattanooga, both by 6-0 scores. MSU's lone win was a 5-2 victory over Bethel University.
The Golden Eagles own a 40-24 all-time record against Austin Peay, winning 18 of the last 21 matches including a 5-2 victory last year in Clarksville. In fact, since 1988, Tech has lost only six of 30 matches and is unbeaten on the Tech courts during that span with a 12-0 record.
The Governors are currently 5-2 overall in dual matches this spring, but have been idle since a 5-2 loss to Linsey Wilson College on March 1. Austin Peay plays its OVC opener at Jacksonville State on Saturday before heading to the Upper Cumberland. The Govs have been strong in the top two singles positions, going 6-1 at No. 1 singles and 5-1 at the No. 2 position. At No. 1, Dimitar Ristovski owns a 3-0 record while Jasmin Ademovic is 3-1 at that spot. In the No. 2 slot. Alexsas Tverijonas is 3-0 while Ristovski is 2-1. Overall, Tverijonas owns a 7-0 singles mark, including a 4-0 worksheet at No. 3. In doubles, Ristovski and Iago Sefferin are a perfect 7-0 in dual matches heading into the weekend.
The Golden Eagles are 1-8 overall this spring, with their lone win being a 4-3 victory over Lipscomb on Feb. 28. Among Tech's losses are a 7-0 decision to No. 6 Tennessee, a 6-1 loss to No. 47 Louisville, and a 6-1 loss to Division II fourth-ranked Georgia Gwinnett.
Sophomore Oleksiy Arovin (in photo above) has been Tech's leader, posting a 7-2 record in the No. 1 singles position. He comes into the weekend having won six consecutive matches.