April 11, 2009
SAN DIEGO—The TCU men’s tennis team clinched at least a share of the Mountain West Conference regular-season championship for the second straight season Saturday morning with a 5-0 victory over Air Force at the Aztec Tennis Center.
The win completed a perfect 3-0 weekend for the 45th-ranked Frogs, who finished off their regular-season schedule Saturday. TCU completed its campaign with an 11-10 record, moving above the .500 mark for the first time in 2009 with a win in the final match. The squad went 5-1 in MWC play over the last two weekends, suffering its only defeat to Utah.
Due to Utah’s loss to San Diego State earlier Saturday, the Frogs will receive the No. 1 seed for the upcoming Mountain West Conference Championships. The squad can still earn the regular-season MWC crown outright if New Mexico drops one of its final two matches. TCU handed the Lobos their only conference loss thus far with a 5-2 victory Thursday.
The Frogs won all five singles matches that played out Saturday against Air Force, with each victory coming in straight sets. Freshman Slah Mbarek’s match at No. 2 singles with Cody Hall went unfinished, while doubles were not played due to the threat of rain.
Sophomore Christopher Price clinched TCU’s second straight conference title at No. 5 singles with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Alex Beaussart. The win marked Price’s fourth straight and pushed his MWC singles record to 5-1. Like Price, senior Kriegler Brink also finished conference play 5-1 after posting a 6-1, 6-0 win over Brett Rodgers at No. 3 singles.
Senior Emanuel Brighiu made a successful return to the No. 1 singles slot for TCU by downing Austin Francis, 6-1, 6-3. Brighiu moved out of the top position eight matches ago while dealing with an injury that has plagued him throughout the spring. He closed the MWC season with a 4-2 record after posting his second straight win.
Sophomores Zach Nichols and Casey Powers added easy straight-set victories at No. 4 and 6 singles, respectively. Nichols defeated Taylor Soster, 6-0, 6-2, to run his league mark to 4-2, while Powers also finished MWC play 4-2 with a 6-1, 6-1 win over James Tomlin.
“This conference championship is a real testimony to the way our guys have battled this year,” head coach Dave Borelli said. “We played a really tough schedule in non-conference mostly on the road, and I think that really helped us prepare for the conference. For the second straight year our guys had to get it done without playing a home match, and they came through.”
TCU will take the next two weeks off from competition before returning to action at the Mountain West Conference Championships April 23-25 in Albuquerque, N.M. The Frogs will be looking to successfully defend their 2008 MWC tournament title in addition to earning their 18th NCAA Tournament bid in the last 19 years.
TCU 5, Air Force 0
April 11, 2009
San Diego, Calif. (Aztec Tennis Center)
1. #110 Emanuel Brighiu (TCU) def. Austin Francis (AF), 6-1, 6-3
2. #62 Slah Mbarek (TCU) vs. Cody Hall (AF), unfinished
3. #76 Kriegler Brink (TCU) def. Brett Rodgers (AF), 6-1, 6-0
4. Zach Nichols (TCU) def. Taylor Soster (AF), 6-0, 6-2
5. Christopher Price (TCU) def. Alex Beaussart (AF), 6-0, 6-2
6. Casey Powers (TCU) def. James Tomlin (AF), 6-1, 6-1
Order of Finish: 3,6,4,5,1
1. #31 Kriegler Brink/Slah Mbarek (TCU) vs. Austin Francis/Cody Hall (AF), did not play
2. #20 Emanuel Brighiu/Adrian Simon (TCU) vs. Brett Rogers/Taylor Soster (AF), did not play
3. Christopher Price/Zach Nichols (TCU) vs. James Tomlin/Alex Beausart (AF), did not play