By Brandon Roberts/Sports writer
The No. 22-ranked Kentucky Wildcats handed Eastern’s men’s tennis team its eighth loss of the season Wednesday. The loss gives Eastern a 9-8 record for the year.UK’s Evan Austin defeated Eastern’s John Kellert at No. 1. Eastern’s Tom Wospil was handed a loss at No. 2 by UK’s Rahim Esmail. Tigran Martirosvan defeated Eastern’s Alvin Cheng at No. 3, while Jason Mallajah was victorious over Mario Simic at No. 4. No. 5 and No. 6 were also UK victories with Alex Hume defeating Chase Armstrong and Matt Allinder edging out Eastern’s Billy Pfaffinger, respectively.
Eastern then earned its first conference win of the year with a 6-0 win over Tennessee State University. The win improved Eastern’s overall record to 10-8 and its OVC record to 1-4.
Eastern swept the singles matches, and no doubles were played. Eastern’s Wospil defeated TSU’s Jamaal Brown at No.1 by a score of 6-4, 7-6. Mario Simic shut out TSU’s Trey Collier at No. 2. No. 3 and No. 4 were also shutout wins for Eastern. Chris Jacques defeated Chris Neely and Lane Orttenburger beat Dominique Keys by the same score. No. 5 was a victory by injury default for Eastern’s Armstrong, and Billy Pfaffinger earned a victory at No. 6 due to an insufficient lineup.
Eastern’s final home match of the season saw the team square off against OVC foe Jacksonville State University on Sunday. JSU was the victor by a score of 5-2, and Eastern’s overall record fell to 10-9. The team’s OVC record dropped to 1-5.
“It was a hard-fought 5-2 against Jacksonville State. The guys battled hard,” coach Rob Oertel said. “They were highly competitive matches.”
Kellert and Wospil had the only victories for Eastern. Kellert at No.1 won by injury default and Wospil at No. 2 defeated Ruben Herrera .
Eastern’s doubles team of Armstrong/Simic defeated TSU’s team of Keiran Ricci/Toby Bourke 8-3.
“We have a huge weekend coming up, and the guys have a good perspective. They know we control our own destiny,” Oertel said. “There is not a big difference between the two and nine seed in the OVC. We’ve got to have a good weekend, I am very excited, I can’t wait.”
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