ETSU looks to extend its eight-year home opening win streak
BRISTOL, Tenn. (Feb. 24, 2012) – The ETSU men’s tennis team has won its home opener eight-consecutive years, and will put that streak on the line as it opens the 2012 home season this weekend when it welcomes Appalachian State and Tennessee Tech to the Bristol Racquet Club.
The Bucs serve up the home season with the Mountaineers on Saturday at 4 p.m., and take on Tech Sunday at 10 a.m.
ETSU (0-8) has spent the entire 2012 spring season on the road, facing off against five ITA-ranked teams along the way. The Buccaneers’ nearly upset then-No. 38 Nebraska at the Huskers’ home courts back on Feb. 12, but saw their upset bid fall just short, 4-3, with the match coming down to the No. 6 singles point after being all square at 3-3. ETSU then suffered a second-straight 4-3 defeat, losing last Saturday to MTSU for the first time in three years.
Senior Belgians Sander Gille (Kuringen, Belgium) and Jeremey Bonnevalle (Keerbergen, Belgium) own the best winning percentage among the team with each having gone 2-5 through dual play. Gille’s wins came in back-to-back days, when he defeated the Denver’s Enoj Bonin and the Huskers’ No. 78 ITA-ranked Benedikt Lindheim 6-3, 6-0 in Lincoln, Neb., earning Gille his first collegiate A-Sun Player of the Week honors. Bonnevalle picked up his second win in ETSU’s most recent match against MTSU, defeating Ettore Zito 7-6 (7-4), 6-3. The only other Buc with multiple wins through the first eight matches is junior Juan Ramirez (Asuncion, Paraguay), who is 2-6 having played all eight matches at No. 3 singles.
Appalachian State (3-2) is on a three-match winning streak after taking down Gardner Webb 5-2 on Thursday. The Mountaineers’ two other wins on the streak both came at home against East Carolina (Feb. 18) and UNC Asheville (Jan. 29).
Alain Humblet, Steve Karendal and Phillip Kloc all share the team-lead in wins and winning percentage, each holding a 3-2 record through the spring. Humblet primarily plays at No. 3 singles, Karendal at No. 5 and Kloc at No. 2.
Tennessee Tech (1-5) is coming off a loss to BIG EAST powerhouse No. 35 Louisville, dropping a 6-1 match to the Cardinals last Saturday. The loss put Tech on a two-match losing streak after the Eagles were swept 7-0 by Elon on Feb. 3.
Syrym Abdukhalikov and Vasily Ermeev are the Eagles’ only multiple winners this season with both holding a 2-4 dual record. Abdukhalikov has played all six of his singles matches at the No. 1 spot, while Eremeev has split time between No. 6 and No. 4.
The Bucs last met Appalachian State in ETSU’s home opener last year, defeating the Mountaineers 5-2 on Feb. 12, and last met Tennessee Tech back on Mar. 5, 2006 in a 6-1 Buccaneer victory.
For more information on ETSU tennis, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the tennis links.