NASHVILLE --- Competing in the OVC Tournament for the first time since 2003, the sixth-seeded Tennessee State men’s tennis team battled to the end in a 4-0 loss at the hands of third-seeded Jacksonville State in Friday’s first-round match at the Centennial Sportsplex Tennis Center.
Tennessee State completes the season with a 7-10 overall record, while Jacksonville State (12-8) advances to the OVC Semifinals to face second-seeded Eastern Kentucky.
“I think we played well and competed well,” TSU Head Coach Monroe Walker III said. “The main thing is that our goal was to make the conference tournament. We ran into a very good team. Congratulations to JSU. We were the underdog this whole year. We were picked to finish last in the conference, so to make the tournament proved a lot of people wrong and showed the guys that if they work hard, they can overcome the odds and make the tournament. That’s all we can ask for.”
Friday included doubles action on the outdoor courts before singles play was moved inside due to rain.
At the No. 3 doubles position, Shashank Nautiyal and Jorge Rodriguez battled JSU’s Pablo Caffarena and Andres Gomez, falling by a slight 6-3 margin. The Gamecocks secured the point with the help of a victory at No. 2 doubles.
In a seesaw match at No. 1 doubles that went unfinished, Matthew Brown and Grant Maddox trailed JSU’s top pairing of Jaryd Reese and Austin McCormick by a narrow 5-4 score.
Moving indoors, Jacksonville State won at the top three singles spots to secure the 4-0 victory. Of the completed matches, Brown played the most highly-competitive match at No. 1 singles. After falling to Reese by a 6-4 score in the first set, the two played more back-and-forth tennis in the second set, which was won by Reese by a 6-3 score.
Tom Vanden Broeck-Parant (No. 2) and Rodriguez (No. 3) fell in straight sets in their singles matches on the day.
The bottom three singles matches in the lineup went unfinished on Friday. Kyle Burton and Nautiyal dropped the first set of their matches at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, and were locked up tight second sets when the match ended.
The Tigers are set to return eight of their nine letterwinners from this season.
1. REESE, Jaryd (JSU) def. BROWN, Matthew (TSU) 6-4, 6-3
2. CAFFARENA, Pablo (JSU) def. VANDEN BROECK-PARENT, Tom (TSU) 6-1, 6-2
3. CHAIM, Mathias (JSU) def. RODRIGUEZ, Jorge (TSU) 6-1, 6-0
4. CUCALON, Paolo (JSU) vs. NAUTIYAL, Shashank (TSU) 6-1, 5-3, unfinished
5. MORCK, Felix (JSU) vs. BURTON, Kyle (TSU) 6-3, 1-0, unfinished
6. AGOST, Guillermo (JSU) vs. MADDOX, Grant (TSU) 4-1, unfinished
1. REESE, Jaryd/MCCORMICK, Austin (JSU) vs. BROWN, Matthew/MADDOX, Grant (TSU) 5-4, unfinished
2. CHAIM, Mathias/MORCK, Felix (JSU) def. BURTON, Kyle/VANDEN BROECK-PARENT, Tom (TSU) 6-1
3. CAFFARENA, Pablo/GOMEZ, Andres (JSU) def. NAUTIYAL, Shashank/RODRIGUEZ, Jorge (TSU) 6-3