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The Mountaineers begin their quest for a Southern Conference championship with a match against defending SoCon Tournament champion Samford on Sunday.
Courtesy: Meghan Gay
Men's Tennis Set for SoCon Opener at Samford
Courtesy: Appalachian State Sports Information
Release: Saturday 03/10/2012 (ET)
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - After two weeks away from competition, Appalachian State University men's tennis is back on the courts Sunday, when the Mountaineers travel to open their Southern Conference schedule with a match at Samford at 10 a.m. (Central). Appalachian (4-3) begins its seven-match road trip on the courts of defending SoCon tournament champion Samford (6-2), which enters the weekend on a three-match winning streak.

In their last match, the Apps cruised past Belmont, 6-1, at home. The win retained ASU's perfect mark at home, as the Black and Gold have triumphed in all three matches in Boone.

Last season, the Mountaineers split their two matches with the Bulldogs, winning 4-3 in the regular season before falling, 4-2, in the quarterfinals of the SoCon tournament.

After a 0-2 start to the season, ASU's Steve Karendal has won five straight to improve to 5-2 on the year, playing in the team's No. 5 spot. Seniors Philip Kloc and Alain Humblet have put up 4-3 marks on the season, occupying the No. 2 and No. 3 singles slots. In doubles Humblet has won his last four matches at No. 2 doubles, pairing with classmate Alex Markov and Karendal.

Like ASU Samford has also been idle since Feb. 26. In the team's last three matches before its break, Samford defeated Jacksonville State, 4-2; Eastern Kentucky, 5-2; and Morehead State, 7-0, all in matches away from Birmingham. Samford opens conference action on Saturday with a 10 a.m. (Central) match against Wofford.

Samford's Elliot Barnwell and Fernando Costa have dominated their opponents at No. 3 and No. 4 singles, each posting 7-1 records on the year. Zac Dunkle has also been strong, compiling a 6-2 mark in competition at the top two positions. In doubles, Dunkle has paired with Alexander Sajonz for a 5-3 record at No. 1 singles.

After Sunday, the Mountaineers will continue south for a date with Jacksonville on Tuesday at 2 p.m.

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