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Appalachian senior Alex Markov will face another arduous test at No. 1 singles as the Mountaineers take on ETSU and Belmont this weekend.
Courtesy: TBD
Men's Tennis to Face ETSU, Host Belmont
Courtesy: Appalachian State Sports Information
Release: Friday 02/24/2012 (ET)
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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Riding a streak of three-consecutive wins, Appalachian State University men's tennis looks to keep its momentum going with a pair of non-conference matches this weekend. The Mountaineers travel to face ETSU at 4 p.m. on Saturday before returning home to Deer Valley Racquet Club to host Belmont on Sunday at 11 a.m.

Appalachian State (3-2) notched its first win at home with a 4-3 victory over UNC Asheville at the end of January. The Apps downed East Carolina, 5-1 last weekend before defeating Gardner-Webb, 5-2, on Thursday.

Three Mountaineer seniors have posted winning singles records, including Philip Kloc at No. 2, Alain Humblet at No. 3 and Steve Karendal at No. 5. Each has posted 3-2 solo records, accounting for 60 percent of ASU's combined team scoring. Both Kloc and Karendal enter the weekend on three-match winning streaks.

In doubles, Appalachian's regionally-ranked pair of No. 8 Kloc and Humblet have re-partnered in recent matches, merging with ASU's Alex Markov and Sebastien King in an effort to redistribute ASU's strengths. The new pairs are a combined 3-1 since reorganizing for the ECU match, as King/Kloc has taken over the No. 1 position and Markov/Humblet, the No. 2.

Defending Atlantic Sun champion ETSU (0-8) is off to a rough start in 2012, thanks in part to a brutally tough schedule. The Buccaneers have faced five nationally-ranked teams to begin the year, falling by a combined 6-24 margin. In a tightly-contested showdown with No. 38 Nebraska on Feb. 11, ETSU lost three singles matches in three sets to allow the Cornhuskers to slip by with the 4-3 win.

No individual or unique doubles pair has notched more than two wins in ETSU's eight matches to-date, but on their home court, the formerly nationally-ranked Bucs will provide the Mountaineers with a difficult test.

On Sunday, the Mountaineers will take on Belmont (1-3) within the confines of ASU's home courts at Deer Valley. The Bruins defeated Jacksonville State, 6-1, on Feb. 11 but have lost to Austin Peay, Chattanooga and, most recently, No. 35 Louisville.

Belmont's squad consists entirely of upperclassmen, all hailing from Brazil. Leading the team is Renato Antun, who earned a straight sets win at No. 1 singles to give the Bruins their only point against Louisville; Antun is 3-1 this spring. In doubles, Antun partners with Rafael Matos to make up Belmont's top duo. The pair is 2-2 in dual matches.

Belmont begins the weekend with a dual at UNCG on Friday.

Following this weekend, the Mountaineers will have a few weeks to prepare for their next outing. Appalachian is scheduled to travel to Samford to open Southern Conference action on March 11 before the Apps head south for a Sunshine State road trip in Florida.

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