AURORA, Ky. -- Looking to end a five-match skid against Murray State, the WKU men's tennis team put forth a valiant effort against its former Ohio Valley Conference rivals, picking up a pair of singles wins and one doubles win in a 5-2 loss to the Racers from the Kenlake Tennis Center in Aurora, Ky., on Saturday.
The Hilltoppers forced three of the six singles to a third set, with senior Craig Kirchgessner picking up his first singles win of the season in three sets from the No. 2 singles position. The win from the No. 2 spot was the first of Kirchgessner's career.
Saturday was also a day of firsts for three different Hilltopper freshmen, as the trio of J.T. Closi, Andrew Fish and Brody Freeman all found the win column for WKU. Closi and Fish each picked up their first career doubles win, as the duo defeated Tyler Jeffers and Max McClean 8-5 from the No. 2 doubles position. Closi also forced Murray State ace Arthur Valle to a three-set match from the No. 1 singles, ultimately falling 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (9-7). It was Closi's second consecutive match to play from the No. 1 singles spot.
Brody Freeman, playing in his third single of the season, picked up his first career singles win, outlasting Aleks Mitric, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 from the No. 6 singles spot.
WKU (0-4) has now dropped six-straight to Murray State in what was the 64th all-time meeting between the two programs.
All four of the Hilltopper losses this season have come on the road, with two of the losses to a pair of former OVC rivals - Murray State and Austin Peay.
WKU will return home next weekend for the home opener, as both the Hilltoppers and the Lady Toppers will host SIU-Edwardsville on Friday, March 2, starting a string of five matches in six days for the Hilltoppers.
Murray State 5, WKU 2
Arthur Valle (MUR) def. J.T. Closi (WKU) 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (9-7)
Craig Kirchgessner (WKU) def. Jose Berardo (MUR) 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (9-7)
Daniel Heibel (MUR) def. Lance Freeman (WKU) 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-3)
Max McClean (MUR) def. Arul Selvan (WKU) 6-2, 6-3
Tyler Jeffers (MUR) def. Robert Whitmer (WKU) 7-5, 5-7, 10-6
Brody Freeman (WKU) def. Aleks Mitric (MUR) 7-6 (7-4), 6-2
Valle/Heibel (MUR) def. Kirchgessner/Freeman (WKU) 8-5
Closi/Fish (WKU) def. Jeffers/McLean (MUR) 8-5
Berardo/Gerlach (MUR) def. De Seroux/Whitmer (WKU) 9-8 (9-7)