Golden Eagles flock to Austin for battle with No. 2 Texas in Friday’s first round of the NCAA Championship

Golden Eagles flock to Austin for battle with No. 2 Texas in Friday’s first round of the NCAA Championship

WEATHER UPDATE: Due to forecasted inclement weather approaching the Austin area, today's match between the Tennessee Tech and Texas tennis teams will now be played at 12 p.m. CT at the Texas Tennis Center.

2019 NCAA Tournament Bracket

By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information 

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech tennis team will appear in the national spotlight. The stage is set. The lights are bright. The 2019 NCAA Tournament is here.

The Golden Eagles are heading to Austin, Texas to tangle with the No. 2-ranked Longhorns in the opening round of the college tennis' premier event. First serve is slated for Friday, May 3 at 1 p.m. CT from the Texas Tennis Center.

No. 19 Alabama and No. 37 South Florida make up the other two teams in the regional and will compete Friday at 10 a.m. in the other first-round matchup from the Lone Star State. The winners of both contests will connect on Saturday at 3 p.m. in the second round. The tournament is a single-elimination format.

Live stats will be available for the match. Click here for live stats.

Tech (10-13, 4-1) enters the NCAA Tournament with history in its back pocket after taking home the club's fourth-consecutive OVC Tournament title with a 4-2 win over Jacksonville State on Apr. 28 in Nashville. The Golden Eagles became the first OVC squad to four-peat in the event since Middle Tennessee in the 90s and are the only current league member ever to win four straight championships.

Primarily led by its youth with three rookies comprising the top three spots in the singles lineup, TTU travels to Austin winners of six of the last seven matches. Freshman Rafael Tosetto, an All-OVC first-teamer, is the only Golden Eagle to appear in Tech's top spot in the singles order, posting a 10-9 record out of the rigorous position. The Jacarei, Brazil native also collected the most doubles wins on the squad behind a 12-5 record.

Carlos Vicente, the OVC Freshman of the Year, appeared primarily out of the No. 2 slot in the singles lineup, collecting a 5-4 record out of that spot. The All-OVC first-teamer also thrived out of the No. 1 doubles position with a club-leading 11-6 mark from that place.

Elias Grubert, the third TTU rookie sitting atop Kenny Doyle's lineup, went a combined 6-1 out of the No. 3 and No. 4 slots. The All-OVC second-teamer helped push Tech to the OVC championship with a straight-set win in the No. 3 battle of the finals against JSU.

Sophomore Riku Kubota, the final postseason award winner thanks to an All-OVC second-team accolade, sat primarily in the No. 4 position in Tech's lineup where he went 6-1 throughout the spring.

Veteran presence helped make up the bottom of TTU's singles rotation, paced by the club's lone senior Wenceslao Albin and his impressive 9-1 record out of the No. 5 slot. The Salliquelo, Argentina product picked up a team-leading 12 overall wins and was the only Golden Eagle to secure a perfect 5-0 record during OVC play. Albin also joins Tosetto, Vicente and sophomore Gonzalo Garcia as the only four on the club with double-digit tandem victories this season.

Junior transfer Fanis Kontopolous turned it on during OVC play with an unblemished 4-0 record, going 6-0 overall out of the No. 6 position in Tech's singles lineup.

A look at Texas

The No. 2 national seed Longhorns lost only three matches all season with a 23-3 overall mark and perfect 5-0 Big 12 record. Texas knocked off Oklahoma in the Big 12 semifinals, but lost to No. 8 Baylor in the championship match.

The Longhorns earned their 28th consecutive bid to the NCAA championships and will make their 37th overall appearance since the NCAA bracket tournament was introduced in 1977. The club will host the opening round of the tourney for the third straight year and fifth time in the last six seasons.

Texas is 57-36 all-time in the event.   

Junior Christian Sigsgaard, the squad's No. 1 singles competitor, enters the NCAA Tournament with a 14-7 record out of the top spot in the lineup. Fellow junior Yuya Ito, who possesses the best singles record on the team with a 22-3 mark, has collected 21 wins out of the No. 2 slot in the order.

Leonardo Telles has gone 12-5 out of the No. 3 position, while Harrison Scott possesses a 13-5 record out of the No. 4 slot and Colin Markes is 13-3 out of the No. 5 spot. Rodrigo Banzer has appeared in the No. 6 position 11 times, going 8-3 in those clashes.

Sigsgaard and Scott have proven to be the Longhorns' top doubles tandem with an 11-5 record from the No. 1 spot.

Texas and Tennessee Tech have one previous meeting in the all-time series, a Longhorn 4-0 win in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament in Austin.

Photo by Tony Marable