By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Tennessee Tech tennis team saw its chance at fifth-straight OVC Tournament title go by the books Sunday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles were downed 4-3 by Belmont in the championship match in Evansville.
Playing shorthanded due to COVID-19 protocols, Tech was forced to forfeit both a singles and doubles matchup that aided the Bruins (13-4) in claiming the crown. The Golden Eagles (10-6) came into the contest having won 10 consecutive matches, the longest streak since 10 straight nods in 2012. Belmont was the first and only non "Power 5" school to take down Tech this spring.
After having to forfeit the No. 3 doubles battle with not enough players available to participate, Tech ultimately dropped the doubles point despite capturing one of the two completed duels. TTU's top tandem of Evzen Holis and Jun Sasagawa knocked off Marko Ilic and Taisei Miyamoto, 6-1, but Belmont's Diego Castro and Luis Tomas collected a hard-fought 7-5 victory in the No. 2 meeting to push the Bruins to a 1-0 lead in the affair.
Belmont's lead quickly turned to 2-0 after the Golden Eagles forfeited the No. 6 singles get-together, but TTU did manage to collect wins in three of the other five solo slots. Playing in only his fourth singles clash of the spring, Jun Sasagawa picked up a 7-6, 7-4 victory over Taisei Miyamoto in the No. 5 position, one of two Tech straight-set triumphs. Rafael Tosetto powered post Luis Tomas in the No. 3 spot with a 6-2, 6-0 nod.
Marko Ilic, the OVC Player of the Year, took down Carlos Vicente behind a 6-3, 6-3 win in the No. 1 position to help give Belmont a 3-2 advantage late in the contest. Evzen Holis squared the score at 3-3 with an intense, three-set 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory in the No. 2 affair, but Diego Castro bested Andre Rodeia thanks to a 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 nod in the No. 4 battle to claim the championship.
The Golden Eagles end the spring with a regular-season title in their back pocket, the program's eighth in the last 10 full seasons.
Photo by Thomas Corhern