By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech tennis team will venture north for a jam-packed weekend of non-conference clashes. The Golden Eagles are set to flock up to Des Moines, Iowa to tangle at Drake University Friday at 6 p.m. CT, before a meeting with Northern Illinois Saturday at 1 p.m. and a matchup against Western Michigan Sunday at 10 a.m.
All three contests will take place at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center, on the campus of Drake University.
Tech (0-1) unwrapped its spring campaign Monday afternoon at the University of Tennessee, falling 6-1 to the Vols. Freshman Gonzalo Garcia accounted for TTU's lone point in the tilt, thanks to a 6-3, 3-6, 10-3 singles nod out of the No. 5 spot.
Although he was upended in his first spring singles clash of the year, a 6-3, 7-5 loss to No. 36 Timo Stodder, Eduardo Mena enters the season ranked 28th in the Oracle Intercollegiate Tennis Association's national singles rankings, the highest ranking by a Golden Eagle in school history.
Tech's Weekend Competition:
Drake: Friday night's matchup with the Bulldogs will serve as one of two affairs this season in which Tech will square off with an NCAA Tournament participant from a season ago (Feb. 18 at ETSU). Drake is coming off a 17-12 spring season in 2017, highlighted by two-straight 4-0 wins over Illinois State and Southern Illinois in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament for the program's 10th championship and 10th NCAA Tournament appearance. The Bulldogs will be making their 2018 spring debut on Friday and lead the all-time series, 2-0, against Tech.
Northern Illinois: Similar to Drake, the weekend will mark the first time the Huskies are in action this spring. Prior to locking up with Tech, NIU will square off with the host Drake Saturday morning to open its season. Senior George Lundkvist registered the best fall record by a Husky this year, tallying a 9-6 singles mark. Fellow senior Tom Hjertonsson ended the fall with a fair share of momentum after finishing in second in flight five at the Mid-American Conference Indoor Invitational in mid-November. Saturday will mark the first meeting between the two schools.
Western Michigan: The Broncos join the Golden Eagles as the only other school among the quartet that has already opened the season. Western Michigan (2-0) made it a clean sweep in Sunday's season-opening twin bill, toppling Xavier, 6-1, before knocking off Detroit, 5-2. Three Broncos head into the weekend with a 2-0 singles mark as Lenhard Haupt, Jannik Optiz and Matej Svjetlicic all won their pair of Sunday battles. Tech and WMU will meet for the first time in series history.
Photo by Tony Marable