Oklahoma Looks to Bounce Back at Pepperdine

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Mikey McCareins
By Mikey McCareins
Student Assistant
MARCH 13, 2017
oklahoma No. 7 Oklahoma at Pepperdine oklahoma
March 14, 4 p.m. CT. | Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center
Malibu, Calif.

NORMAN – The Oklahoma men’s tennis team, ranked No. 7 in the Oracle/ITA team rankings, will continue its nonconference slate as it travels to Malibu, Calif., to face Pepperdine on Tuesday at 4 p.m. CT.

Oklahoma enters Tuesday’s meeting at 10-4 on the season, with four top-25 wins and two top-10 wins on its resume. Seniors Florin Bragusi and Alex Ghilea have been catalysts for the Crimson and Cream in 2017, both at 9-2 in singles dual play. In addition, freshman Jochen Bertsch sits at 9-2 in singles in what has been a successful start to his collegiate career.

Junior Spencer Papa, ranked No. 21 in the nation in singles, has been key for the Sooners at No. 1 singles in the absence of Andrew Harris, a three-time All-Big 12 member and 2015 All-American. Papa, an Edmond, Okla., native is 4-2 at the No. 1 spot on the season, with two wins over top-25 foes.

Head coach Nick Crowell and his squad looks to bounce back from their previous two defeats at No. 1 Ohio State and versus No. 21 Cornell as they take on the Waves of Pepperdine on just one day’s rest.

Senior Alex Ghilea hits a volley Sunday vs. Cornell. Ghilea is 9-2 in singles this spring playing at No. 2 and No. 3 singles. 

Pepperdine enters the contest at 4-5 in dual play, with a solid 3-1 record on its home courts. Led by head coach Marcelo Ferreira, the Waves are coming off of a 14-11 campaign in 2016 in which they reached the WCC Final. Pepperdine is an experienced side, with four juniors or seniors in their regular singles lineup. 

The Sooners enter Tuesday with confidence in their ability to compete on the road, as the squad already has a true road win over Arkansas (then No. 25), two neutral site wins over top-10 opponents in Florida and Northwestern at National Indoors and battles at No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Wake Forest.

There won’t be much time to relax for OU following Tuesday’s contest, as the team will make the short trip to Indian Wells, Calif., on Friday for the BNP Paribas Open Collegiate Challenge presented by Oracle from March 17-19. The tournament marks the final non-conference action of the 2017 campaign for OU.

Oklahoma will return home on Friday, March 31 at 6 p.m. CT for this year’s edition of the Red River Rivalry to take on the No. 8 Longhorns at the Headington Family Tennis Center. The squad will make the quick turnaround on Sunday for another Big 12 matchup at home versus TCU at 1 p.m.

As always, admission for all regular season matches will be free for fans. For more information on Oklahoma men’s tennis, follow the team on Twitter @OU_MTennis.

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