NORMAN, Okla. -- The Oklahoma men’s tennis team claimed its third Big 12 win of the season and a fifth place seed in the Big 12 tournament Sunday, edging Texas Tech, 4-3, at the OU Headington Family Tennis Center in Norman.
The Sooners wrapped up the regular season with a 17-6 overall record and 3-4 mark in Big 12 action, while the Red Raiders finished 11-11 on the season and 2-5 in Big 12 play.
"This was the most important match this year," said head coach Paul Lockwood. "We had to have this win to get fifth place in the Big 12 and a chance to play Oklahoma State in the first round of the [Big 12] tournament. Tommy [Garrison] stepped up and really showed some maturity and guts today by getting us the final point to win this match. I’m proud of the guys and think this is a great way to end the season."
Despite extremely windy conditions, the Sooners got off to an impressive start in doubles play by dominating at the No. 1 and 3 spots for the second consecutive match. Sophomore Lee Gregg (Altus, Okla.) and freshman Marek Velicka (Prerov, Czech Republic) continued their conference winning streak by dispatching TTU’s Michael Innerebner and Teddy DiBlasi, 8-3, making the Sooner pair a flawless 5-0 in Big 12 competition.
Junior Ondrej Fukala (Prerov, Czech Republic) and sophomore Tommy Garrison (Enid, Okla.) slid by TTU’s Esat Tanik and Dinko Halachey, 9-8, after fighting hard in a close 11-9 tiebreaker set to secure the doubles point.
OU proved strong when the Sooners split the singles points to clinch the match. After Oklahoma was down 2-0 in singles play, Fukala came out with the first triumph over TTU’s Bojan Szumanski, 6-4, 6-4. Gregg then fell to TTU’s Dimitrio Martinez, 7-6, 6-2, giving the Red Raiders a 3-1 overall lead.
The final two matches at the No. 5 and 4 positions took home the victory for the Sooners. Junior Silviu Tanasoiu (Sibiu, Romania) squeezed by TTU’s Michael Innerebner in a tiebreaker, 7-5, 7-6 (9).
The pressure was on Garrison to seal the season finale win. Garrison was barely defeated in the first set, 6-7, but then swept the second, 6-1. After being tied at 4-4 in the third set, Garrison came back full throttle and overcame TTU’s Halachey, 6-4.
The Sooners now wait to hear the outcome of the OSU versus Texas A&M match to determine which of the two teams OU will face in the first round of the Big 12 Championships on Fri., April 30, at the OU Headington Family Tennis Center in Norman.
No. 62 Oklahoma 4, No. 67 Texas Tech 3
Sunday, April 18, 2004
OU Headington Family Tennis Center, Norman
Order of finish: 1, 3, 2, 6, 5, 4
1. (#72) Jakob Paulsen (TTU) def. Alexei Ivanov (OU) 6-4, 6-4
2. Ondrej Fukala (OU) def. Bojan Szumanski (TTU) 6-4, 6-4
3. Esat Tanik (TTU) def. Marek Velicka (OU) 6-4, 6-2
4. Tommy Garrison (OU) def. Dinko Halachey (TTU) 6-7, 6-1, 6-4
5. Silviu Tanasoiu (OU) def. Michael Innerebner (TTU) 7-5, 7-6 (9)
6. Dimitrio Martinez (TTU) def. Lee Gregg (OU) 7-6, 6-2
Order of finish: 3, 2, 1
1. Fukala/Garrison (OU) def. Tanik/Halachey (TTU) 9-8 (9)
2. Szumanski/Paulsen (TTU) def. Ivanov/Long (OU) 8-3
3. Gregg/Velicka (OU) def. Innerebner/Teddy DiBlasi (TTU) 8-3