April 16, 2014
STILLWATER, Okla. -
The No. 29 Oklahoma State men’s tennis team will close out its regular season on Sunday with a Senior Day ceremony and a conference battle against second-ranked Oklahoma at the Greenwood Tennis Center.
The Cowboys (20-5, 1-3 Big 12) will look to end a three-match Big 12 losing skid on Sunday after falling to No. 27 Texas Tech and No. 6 Baylor last weekend. An Oklahoma State victory would give the team its most conference wins since 2009, while also giving the Pokes their first win over the Sooners in five years.
Brady Bohrnstedt, Matt Campbell, Trevor Horstmann and Brandon Champagne will be honored during Senior Day, which will begin a few minutes before the match. The four Cowboy seniors will be honored on the east side of the outdoor courts. For more updates and information, follow @CowboyTennis on Twitter.
Eyeing the Opposition
The second-ranked Sooners are having one of their best years in school history, highlighted by a No. 1 team ranking on March 18 and an upset over top-ranked Ohio St. on March 7. Oklahoma has also compiled a 3-1 conference record, with the Sooners only loss coming in a 4-3 defeat at No. 7 Texas. The Sooners also boast one of the nation’s top singles duos in #4 Guillermo Alcorta and #6 Axel Alvarez Llamas. Dane Webb (No. 34) and Andrew Harris (No. 42) also hold ranked singles spots, while Harris/Webb (No. 18) own a ranked positions in double.
The Cowboys own a 42-27 all-time advantage over the Sooners, but OU has won each of the past six meetings, dating back to Oklahoma State’s 4-3 win in 2009. The Sooners’ first win of their current six match winning-streak came after the Cowboys took down OU a in a record 200-consecutive matches between 1996 and 2009.
Welcome to the Rankings
After beginning the season unranked, the Cowboys jumped into the No. 51 spot of the ITA Rankings on Jan. 21, and currently sit at No. 29.
OSU joins the rest of its conference opponents in the national rankings, and will look to continue its strong play to surpass Big 12 foes Oklahoma (No. 2), Baylor (No. 6), Texas (No. 7) and Texas Tech (No. 27), while maintaining ground on No. 56 TCU.
Three members of the 2014 Cowboy Tennis squad were inserted into the ITA National Rankings on Feb. 11, marking the first time a Cowboy individual has been represented in the polls this season.
Junior Jakob Sude received the first individual ranking of his career, coming in at No. 70 in ITA’s National Singles Rankings. Sude has compiled a 9-7 singles record in 21 appearances, highlighted by his straight sets victory over Tennessee’s Mikelis Libietis, formerly the nation’s 34th-ranked singles standout, as well as a strong performance in an unfinished match against No. 12 Danii Proskura. Sude currently sits at No. 75 as of April 15. Sude’s ranking is the highest in singles since former Cowboy Vlad Bondarenko’s No. 60 position on Jan. 3, 2012.
In the ITA National Doubles Rankings, undefeated Arjun Kadhe and Jakob Sude premiered at the No. 21 spot on April 8 after racking up eight consecutive wins to open the 2014 season. The duo boasts wins over #10 Chappell/Stein (TCU) and #11 Hess-Olesen/Glasspool (Texas), and became the highest-ranked Cowboy Tennis tandem since Rifat Biktyakov and Aleksey Bessonov sat at No. 20 in the April 12, 2011 rankings.
The 2013 Cowboy Tennis squad saw its doubles team compile a 37-14 dual record, marking a massive improvement for the team and helping OSU begin to develop a reputation as one of the nation’s up-and-coming doubles powers.
That success has passed on into 2014, as the Cowboys’ doubles squads remain an impressive 40-18 through 23 matches in dual play. The team also provided strong performances in the fall despite pairing with new partners, as Oklahoma State sent two doubles teams to the quarterfinal round of ITA’s Central Region Championships.
Strength of Schedule
Coach Udwadia has given the Cowboys a challenging task for the spring by scheduling 16 ranked opponents, giving OSU the 33rd most difficult schedule in the country based on number of ranked opponents faced and quality of opponent.
The team’s tough slate includes six matches against teams ranked in the Top 25, as well as contests against top-10 opponents Baylor, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Seven of the Cowboys’ ranked opponents will visit Stillwater, including three in the top ten. OSU is 7-5 against currently ranked opponents in 2014.
The 2014 season has not only seen the Cowboys jump out to their best start in school history, but also helped OSU compile its longest home winning streak since a 12-match run from 2006-08.
The Pokes are 11-3 at the Greenwood Tennis Center, and will look to increase that mark in this weekend’s Bedlam battle.
In do-or-die tiebreaker situations this year, the Cowboys have compiled a 22-16 advantage, signifying that the team has performed extremely well when under pressure. Jakob Sude is 5-2 in deciding singles set tiebreakers, and Lucas Gerch owns five tiebreaker victories of his own.
Oklahoma State’s clutch tiebreaker wins have been instrumental in the team’s two biggest wins of the year, as the Pokes won four out of five tiebreakers against No. 6 Tennessee and went a perfect 6-0 in tiebreaker play in the team’s sweep over No. 36 Alabama.
Shock And Awe
After defeating Georgia St. on Feb. 9, the Cowboys reached 8-0 for the first time in school history, setting a school record for the best start ever for Cowboy Tennis. The eight wins to begin the season surpassed the 1998 squad’s six and the previous-high of seven from 1997. The Cowboys’ loss at No. 32 Tulsa on Feb. 23 ended the team’s record start.
Bring Out The Brooms
OSU has shutout ten opponents in 25 matches this season, the most in as many matches since the 2006 squad that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In 2014, the Cowboys have swept currently-ranked opponents San Diego State, Dartmouth and Alabama, as well as South Dakota State, Southern Illinois, New Orleans, Oral Roberts, Nebraska-Omaha and Lamar.
The Future Is Now
The Cowboys bring in the year with a bang by debuting the Greenwood Tennis Center, Oklahoma State’s newest athletic facility that will give the tennis program its first new home in more than 30 years. The state-of-the-art complex houses six indoor courts and 12 future outdoor courts, as well as an electronic scoreboard and videoboard.
2014 will also mark the debut of new assistant coach Pepe Cabellero, who joins the Cowboys after serving two years as head coach of the Hong Kong Tennis Association. Caballero takes the team’s position after former assistant Yevgen Bondarchuk held the spot for the last eight years.
Taking Their Talents to Stillwater
Head Coach Jay Udwadia’s 2014 signing class brings five new members to the Cowboy Tennis squad and is highlighted by several international standouts, as well as last year’s top high school player in Oklahoma.