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Golden Eagles best Northern Kentucky in Friday’s Horizon League quarterfinal, will face Belmont in Saturday’s semifinals

Golden Eagles best Northern Kentucky in Friday’s Horizon League quarterfinal, will face Belmont in Saturday’s semifinals

By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.  – The Tennessee Tech tennis team's postseason pedigree proved itself yet again, as the Golden Eagles began their playoff quest with a 5-1 victory over Northern Kentucky in Friday's quarterfinals of the 2024 Horizon League Men's Tennis Championship.

Tech's triumph over the Norse for the second-straight year in the tournament's quarterfinals marks the purple and gold's eight-consecutive season with at least one postseason win as well as the program's ninth-straight spring appearing in a conference tournament semifinal.

TTU (4-12) will greet a familiar foe in Saturday's semis in the form of the South Division No. 1 seed Belmont. The semifinal showdown will mark the sixth-straight conference tournament in which the Golden Eagles and Bruins will lock up, with the previous five occasions taking place in the championship match, including last year's Horizon League final in each of the school's first season in the conference.

Tech's disassembling of the North Division No. 2 seed Northern Kentucky (12-7) featured four singles nods as well as claiming the doubles point for the purple and gold.

TTU secured tandem wins in both completed gatherings, using a Murilo Burckhardt and Paulo Ramos Martin 6-3 win over Josef Zapletal and Trevor Ball in the No. 2 position as well as an Alex Alvarez and Darek Kuczynski 6-1 victory against Santiago Casamayor and Emilio Bravo in the No. 3 spot to seize the doubles point.

The No. 1 matchup pitting Davids Spaks and Lucas Bitzer against Nick Nienhaus and Brandon Ponomarew did not conclude.

Leading 1-0, the Golden Eagles notched singles wins in four of the five finished battles, including three in straight-set fashion. Alex Alvarez took down Nick Nienhaus 6-3, 6-3 on No. 1, while Paulo Ramos Martin collected a 7-6, 7-6 decision over Tom Berry in the No. 4 meeting and Darek Kuczynski notched a 6-2, 6-2 nod against Santiago Casamayor in the No. 6 get-together.

The tilt's lone three-set singles affair swung Lucas Bitzer's way behind a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 triumph over Trevor Ball in the No. 5 tangle.

Josef Zapletal was responsible for capturing NKU's lone point thanks to a 7-5, 7-5 win over Murilo Burckhardt in the No. 2 spot.

The No. 3 showdown of Davids Spaks and Brandon Ponomarew did not have an ultimate resolution. Spaks secured the first set 7-5 before Ponomarew led 6-5 in the second at the time it was called.

Saturday's semifinal with Belmont from the Schwartz Tennis Center in West Lafayette, Ind. is slated to get underway at 10 a.m. CT. The season-at-stake meeting will mark the second time the two clubs will see each other in a week after the Bruins narrowly topped the Golden Eagles 4-3 on Apr. 20 in Nashville in the regular-season get-together.  

Photo by Jim Dillon

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