By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - The Tennessee Tech tennis team is starting to find its groove, as the Golden Eagles posted several singles and doubles victories over the weekend at the UTC/Steve Baras Fall Classic hosted by Chattanooga.
Hosted at the Champions Club in Chattanooga, Tenn., the Mocs welcomed several teams, including the Golden Eagles, for a three-day competition. For the second straight event, Tech players were able to take an early look at some of their Ohio Valley Conference competitors before the spring season.
Freshman Alberto Esteban enjoyed success during the tournament, finishing 2-2 in singles play and 2-1 in doubles action. Esteban fell in his first set of Flight 2, 6-2, 6-3, to the No. 3 seeded Daniel Hernandez of Lipscomb. The young Golden Eagle rebounded nicely, however, winning his next two match-ups. He defeated ETSU's Fernando Amon (7-5, 6-2) and Tennessee's Sunay Bhat (6-4, 6-2) in the first two rounds of the consolation bracket for Flight 2. Connor Huertas of East Tennessee State pulled off the victory over Esteban in the consolation championship match, 6-3, 6-0.
Esteban teamed up with fellow newcomer and Oklahoma State transfer Oleksiy Arovin for doubles play, losing the first match, 8-4, to Eastern Kentucky's Daridge Saidi and Joao Maio. The Tech duo never looked back, taking home the Flight 2 consolation championship after wins over Lipscomb's Miguel Cortez and Stuart Tierney (8-2) and Chattanooga's John Peacey and Luke Saunders (8-4).
Also showing flashes of brilliance over the weekend were Tech veterans Alvaro Cintas and Othon Lima. A sophomore from Cuenca, Spain, Cintas upset the No. 1 seeded Alex Alvaro of Eastern Kentucky in his first-round match-up of Flight 3. He took down the OVC foe in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, before falling to Lipscomb's Miguel Cortez, 6-4, 7-5.
Lima, a sophomore from Macapa, Amapa, Brazil, took down Austin Boaz of Chattanooga (7-5, 6-3) in his first match of the tournament. He fell to his second opponent in Flight 4 action, losing 7-5, 6-1 to the No. 3 seeded Marco Bensley of Abilene Christian.
The Golden Eagles will continue their fall schedule in two weeks when they travel east for the USTA/ITA Regional Championships in Knoxville, Tenn. The tournament is set to begin Oct. 11 and run through Oct. 13.