NORMAN, Okla. -- The Oklahoma men’s tennis team (17-7, 3-5 Big 12) ended its 2004 season on Fri., April 30, with a loss to arch rival Oklahoma State, 4-1, in the first round of the 2004 Big 12 Men’s Tennis Championship at the OU Headington Family Tennis Center in Norman.
A portion of the match was played in Norman while singles action went indoors at the Woodlake Racquet Club in Oklahoma City due to rain.
The Sooners built momentum by clinching the doubles point winning two of the three matches. Junior Matt Long (Ft. Worth, Texas) and sophomore Alexei Ivanov (Izhevsk, Russia) posted the first win for OU by overpowering OSU’s Yevgen Bondarchuk and Boris Kuharic, 8-5, at No. 2.
It was not long until Oklahoma State tied the score, 1-1, with a win at No. 3 doubles. The victory was left to the No. 1 duo of junior Ondrej Fukala (Prerov, Czech Republic) and sophomore Tommy Garrison (Enid, Okla.). The pair triumphed with a stellar 8-6 finish over OSU’s Tomas Bohunicky and Mark Van Elden.
The Sooners lost the match when the Cowboys took the next four singles matches at the No. 3, 4, 2 and 1 spots.
Baylor took home the championship title for the third straight year after sweeping Texas A&M, 4-0, in the title match. Before the Bears’ winning streak, the Aggies had celebrated back-to-back conference titles. Only Texas teams have claimed a league championship since Big 12 men’s tennis was established in 1997.
Two Sooners Named To All-Big 12
Oklahoma’s freshman standout Marek Velicka (Prerov, Czech Republic) and the doubles team of sophomore Tommy Garrison (Enid, Okla.) and Velicka were named to the eighth annual Coaches All-Big 12 teams.
Not since the 2000 season has an OU singles player and doubles team garnered All-Big 12 honors. OU’s then top singles performer Dusty Beard heralded the conference award as well as the No. 1 Sooner duo of Charlie Roberson and Rick Warren. Prior to the 2000 season, Oklahoma received back-to-back singles honors in 1997 and 1998 with Adam Neal and Beard accepting the award. Chris Barkla and Beard also gathered conference team honors in 1998.
Velicka is the first Sooner to receive singles and doubles team honors since 1998 when Beard collected both tributes. Velicka also lead the Sooners in scoring this spring playing at the top three positions.
Sooner Duo Wins Big 12 Position Title
Oklahoma’s No. 3 doubles pair of Lee Gregg (Altus, Okla.) and Marek Velicka (Prerov, Czech Republic) became the first OU doubles team to capture a Big 12 Conference No. 3 Doubles Position title. The duo compiled a flawless 5-0 record in league action.
Four Sooners Named Academic All-Big 12
Juniors Matt Long (Ft. Worth, Texas) and Silviu Tanasoiu (Sibiu, Romania) plus sophomores Alexei Ivanov (Izhevsk, Russia) and Tommy Garrison (Enid, Okla.) were all honored as Academic All-Big 12 first team selections.
Garrison was given special recognition as the only male student-athlete with a superior 4.00 grade-point average. He was among four combined student-athletes nominated for their flawless academic performance, marking his first scholastic award at OU.
OU Earned Highest Seed In Big 12
OU entered the 2004 Big 12 Men’s Tennis Championship with its highest seed ever of fifth. Before this season, the Sooners had only reached as high as sixth place in the conference in 1997.
Newcomers Finish Stellar First Season
Junior Ondrej Fukala (Prerov, Czech Republic), sophomore Lee Gregg (Altus, Okla.) and freshman Marek Velicka (Prerov, Czech Republic) dominated for the Sooners. Fukala ended with a stellar 18-4 record and 6-2 mark versus regional opponents, while Velicka had an impressive 18-6 record and a 5-2 score in the Big 12. Gregg followed closely behind with a 17-5 overall record and 5-1 record in league play.
OU Posts Most Wins Since 1994
Oklahoma went 17-7 and 3-5 in conference action, an improvement from 2003’s 15-10 overall record and 0-8 mark in Big 12 play. The Sooners have not boasted 17 or more wins since the 1994 season when OU accumulated a 22-7 overall record. Oklahoma also has not claimed seven or less losses since 1992, when the team posted a 20-4 mark.
Three Sooners were undefeated at singles positions with four or more wins. Sophomore Lee Gregg (Altus, Okla.) led the way with a perfect 7-0 record at the No. 5 position. Junior Silviu Tanasoiu (Sibiu, Romania) had a flawless 4-0 record at the No. 4 spot, while sophomore Tommy Garrison (Enid, Okla.) went 4-0 at the No. 3 slot.
20-Plus Match Winners
Three Sooners posted 20-plus singles wins this season. Sophomore Lee Gregg (Altus, Okla.) led OU in overall scoring with a 23-9 cumulative mark, while juniors Ondrej Fukala (Prerov, Czech Republic) and Silviu Tanasoiu (Sibiu, Romania) posted 22-8 and 21-6 marks, respectively.
The Sooners have not had three or more players with 20-plus wins since the 1997 season when six of the nine-member team heralded over 20 victories.
Fukala Fares Well In Region And Big 12
Head coach Paul Lockwood knew what he was doing when he signed junior Ondrej Fukala (Prerov, Czech Republic). Fukala was the top Sooner in conference and regional scoring with a 5-3 record in the Big 12 and a solid 6-2 mark among regional adversaries.
OU Owns Solid Record At Home
Since the completion of the OU Headington Family Tennis Center in October 2001, the Sooners have accumulated a solid 20-11 record.
OU continued to improve over the past three years owning a 7-2 record at home this season, marking its least amount of losses at home yet. Oklahoma only fell to two opponents (7-2), second-ranked Baylor and 30-ranked Oklahoma State in the first round of the Big 12 tournament. Prior to 2004, the Sooner men had compiled a 10-4 mark in 2003. The first match played at the courts was against Wichita State on March 27, 2002. OU fell to the Shockers, 5-2.