Men's tennis: Sooners top in-state rival Tulsa
Astrud Reed, The Oklahoma Daily
The in-state rivalry continued tonight as the No. 8 OU men’s tennis team beat the No. 17 Tulsa Golden Hurricane in Norman.
The Sooners bounced back from their close defeat to No. 7 Kentucky with a complete team victory as they beat Tulsa, 5-1. The team is now 5-1 this season, pushing Tulsa to 3-4.
“Tulsa is a good team, as we know over the last few years,” coach John Roddick said. “It was a tough match. We probably played the most complete match we’ve played so far.”
The whole team contributed to the win, starting with the doubles point. OU’s No. 1 double tandem, senior Costin Paval and sophomore Dane Webb, defeated Tulsa’s duo, senior Clifford Marsland and sophomore Alejandro Espejo, 8-4, and clinched the doubles point.
The singles lineup was different for the Sooners tonight. Normally-No. 1 singles player, senior Costin Paval, switched places with the No. 2 singles player, junior Guillermo Alcorta.
Roddick said it was to maintain lineup flexibility. However, he also mentioned the unselfishness of Paval and how Alcorta earned a shot to play in the No. 1 position.
“You want to have options as you go through the season,” Roddick said. “Traditionally, throughout the season you never keep the lineup the same. You want to give other guys chances to play high.”
The lineup change proved no problem for the Sooners as they dominated the singles portion.
Freshman Axel Alvarez notched the second team point for the Sooners, beating senior Grant Ive 6-1, 6-2. Shortly after that, freshman Leonard Stakhovsky knocked off freshman Carlos Bautista 6-3, 6-3. Finally, to seal the win, junior Peerakit Siributwong defeated senior Tristan Jackson 6-3, 6-3.
Once the team victory was already in the books, senior Costin Paval decided to finish his match anyway. He won in straight sets, beating junior Japie De Klerk 6-2, 6-4.
Paval said the team has been waiting for a match where they all played a complete game for a while.
“It really felt like a team,” he said. “Everybody at every position fought really hard, and the level was pretty high. You’re on the court and you can feel it. It’s the best feeling you can get in college tennis.”
The Sooners will now focus on the National Indoor Championships starting Feb. 15 in Seattle.