NORMAN, Okla. -- The Oklahoma men’s tennis team (13-1) takes to the practice courts this week fresh off two straight wins last weekend over SMS (3-5) and East Central (8-6) in Norman. The Sooners experienced their first loss of the season to top ranked and Big 12 foe Baylor (14-0) on Friday.
OU suffered a tough first loss to No. 1 and Big 12 leader Baylor last Friday. OU fell to the Bears, 6-1, dropping the Sooners to 0-1 in Big 12 competition.
The Sooners fought hard against the Bears, the duo of senior Silviu Tanasoiu and sophomore Marek Velicka upset Baylor’s 22nd-ranked duo of Michal Kokta and Lars Poerschke, 8-5, while OU’s only point came from junior Tommy Garrison at the No. 4 position. Garrison defeated Matija Zgaga 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Even though Oklahoma only scored one point they played well against the top team in the nation. Senior Ondrej Fukala fought hard against the 19th-ranked singles player Lars Poerschke, losing the hard-fought match, 6-3, 7-6, 1-0 (11-9).
OU dominated regional opponent Southwest Missouri State, 6-1. The Sooners started off strong by claiming the doubles point and winning five of six singles matches. Sophomore Marek Velicka led the way at the No. 1 spot by defeating SMS’s Jiri Spousta, 6-2, 7-5. Velicka also teamed up with senior Silviu Tanasoiu to beat Jeff Stone and Nenad Curcic, 8-4, at No. 2 doubles.
East Central Recap
OU swept ECU, 7-0, by winning the doubles point and claiming all six singles matches with straight set victories. Freshman Federico Chavarria picked up his first singles win of the season by dominating Matt Folsom, 6-4, 6-0 at the No. 6 spot. Chavarria also teamed up with junior Alexei Ivanov to defeat Shane Conroy and Josue Paz, 8-1, at the No. 2 doubles.
The Sooners produced the best start in school history with an 11-0 record this spring. Prior to this season, OU’s best start was last year’s 2004 squad that started off the season at 9-0.
Oklahoma Successful Against Regional Competition
Oklahoma has not lost a regional match-up this season, leaving them at 5-0 when facing Region V opponents. OU has won 27 of 30 singles matches and 11 of 15 doubles.
Sooners in National Rankings
Oklahoma is ranked 49th in the first ITA computer team ranking of the season. In the individual rankings, junior Alexei Ivanov is ranked 69th nationally, while the duo of senior Silviu Tanasoiu and sophomore Marek Velicka debut as the 58th-ranked doubles team in the nation. The pair enter the rankings after defeating Baylor’s No. 22 duo of Michal Kokta and Lars Poershke.
Two Sooners have only one loss this season. Senior Ondrej Fukala owns an 11-1 record, while senior Silviu Tanasoiu owns a 10-1 record. Five Sooners also own a spring record with 10 or more wins. Oklahoma has earned 82 points this season, while only giving up a total of 14 points to their opponents.
Head Coach Paul Lockwood
Paul Lockwood begins his 18th season as Oklahoma head men’s tennis coach. The OU graduate has compiled an overall record of 251-160 and claimed the Big Eight Conference title in 1992. Lockwood was named Big Eight Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1992.
Lockwood’s teams have also earned eight Academic ITA All-America team honors (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004).