NORMAN, Okla. The University of Oklahoma is one of four men’s tennis programs that will be competing in the 2004 ITA Region V Team playoffs. The winner advances to the esteemed USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Tennis Championship hosted by the University of Illinois. OU, a three seed, will face No. 2 seeded Oklahoma State, while top seeded host Arkansas will challenge No. 4 seeded Tulsa at 9 a.m. inside the Dills Indoor Tennis Center on UA’s campus on Sunday, Oct. 31. The winner of both matches will advance to face each other Sunday afternoon.
Even though it’s been six years since OU competed in an ITA Team Regional playoff, head coach Paul Lockwood is confident that his team is capable of having strong performances against the tournament field.
“I think we have a good chance of advancing. We have had a good fall and played well,” said Lockwood. “The players are excited to have an opportunity to play OSU and eventually move on to the National Team Indoor Championship.”
OU had a strong showing at the Wilson/ITA Individual Regional Championships in Tulsa earlier this month. OU’s Marek Velicka became the first Sooner in 13 years to capture the individual singles title by upsetting four seeded opponents. Velicka entered the tournament un-seeded and currently boasts a 10-2 fall record. The tournament title qualifies Velicka for the National Indoor Singles and Doubles Championships that will be played in Ann Arbor, Mich., Nov. 4-7.
Sophomore Velicka feels good about the tournament.
“My game was improving during the last tournament and I played good tennis,” said Velicka. “I feel pretty good and I am expecting to compete well and for the team to do good also.”
In doubles action, Oklahoma was the only university to advance all three doubles teams to the quarterfinals of the Wilson/ITA championship. In addition, the finals of the consolation bracket consisted of two Sooners.