March 4, 2010
MATCH NOTES | LIVE RESULTS
Match #7 - March 5, 2010
No. 55 TCU (4-2) vs. No. 24 TULSA (9-3)
Fort Worth, Texas (Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center | Bernard "Tut" Bartzen Varsity Courts)
FORT WORTH - The TCU men's tennis team returns to action Friday, March 5 when it plays host to No. 24 Tulsa at 1 p.m. at Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center. The Horned Frogs and Golden Hurricane will be meeting for the first time since the opening round of last spring's NCAA team championships.
TCU, which dropped nine spots in the latest Campbell's/ITA National Team Rankings to No. 55 despite having not played a match in nearly two weeks, will hit the courts for the first time since a Feb. 20 home win over Wichita State. A match against No. 17 Texas A&M had been planned for last Friday, but was postponed due to weather.
The Frogs are 4-2 on the young season, including a 1-2 mark against ranked opponents. Tulsa climbed to a season-high position of No. 24 in the ITA ratings this week following a pair of victories over ranked teams last week in No. 48 Indiana (5-2) and No. 35 Auburn (4-2). Five of the Hurricane's wins have come against ranked foes.
TCU and Tulsa have played each other competitively during their series history, with each squad claiming eight victories. The Frogs earned a 4-3 win on the road last spring over the 17th-ranked Hurricane for one of the team's biggest victories in the four-year tenure of head coach Dave Borelli. Tulsa avenged the loss by taking the Frogs out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament, by the same score in Tulsa.
TCU returns to action at home next Thursday, March 11 with a 1 p.m. matchup against Oklahoma.
Senior Philip Stephens has served as Tulsa's No. 1 singles player for much of the spring, and he owns a 10-9 overall record with two wins over nationally ranked opponents. He ranks No. 115 nationally. Sophomore Ashley Watling, 13-6 on the season, moved up one spot to No. 31 in the men's national singles poll after knocking off Indiana's Santiago Gruter, 6-2, 6-3, last Friday. Freshman Marcelo Arevalo recently earned his first career national singles ranking at No. 75. Stephens and Watling are ranked No. 36 in doubles and is 13-6 after having while won four-straight matches.
TOUGH ROAD AHEAD
The Frogs will play one of the nation's toughest schedules this spring, as 16 of the squad's 21 regular season matches will be against teams included among the ITA's preseason national team rankings. Included among the list are six teams currently ranked among the nation's top-25 teams in No. 14 Baylor, No. 17 Texas A&M, No. 18 Texas Tech, No. 21 Oklahoma, No. 23 BYU and No. 24 Tulsa.
DOUBLES THE FUN
One of the strengths TCU used to its advantage on the way to earning a bid to the NCAA Championships last season was exceptional doubles play, as the Frogs took the doubles point in 14 of 22 opportunities. TCU has won the point in four of six opportunities so far in 2010, each of the squad's team victories.
Since joining the Mountain West Conference in 2005-06, TCU has compiled a league-best 26-6 record against league opponents while garnering each of the last two regular season titles (2008, '09) and a pair of tournament trophies (2006, `08).
FROGS RETURN TWO ALL-MWC HONOREES
TCU boasts a pair of returning All-Mountain West Conference players in junior Emanuel Brighiu and sophomore Slah Mabrek. Both Frogs earned spots on the All-MWC Singles and Doubles teams a season ago, while Brighiu also earned his first individual trip to the NCAA Championships while pairing in doubles with former teammate Adrian Simon.
Overall, four of the six Frogs who were featured in TCU's lineup for its 2009 NCAA First Round match against Tulsa return in Brighiu, Mbarek and juniors Zach Nichols and Christopher Price.
TWO FROGS NAMED MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Two Frogs have earned Mountain West Conference Player of the Week honors this season: Zach Nichols (Jan. 27) and Slah Mbarek (Feb. 24).
Nichols earned his first career MWC honor for his efforts during TCU's opening weekend of competition, as he went a perfect 4-0 in singles and doubles during Frog victories over Texas-Pan American and UT Arlington. The junior earned two wins in straight sets at No. 3 singles, defeating UTPA's Beau Bernstein (7-5, 6-2) and UTA's Brieuc Hamon (6-4, 6-1). Nichols also helped clinch the doubles point in both matches at the No. 2 position, pairing with teammate Christopher Price to defeat UTPA's Mohinta/Vijayaragavan (8-6) and UTA's Srkala/Yakovlev (8-3).
Mbarek claimed the third MWC weekly award of his career after combining for a 3-1 individual record to lead the Horned Frogs to a 1-1 record against No. 41 Texas Tech (L, 2-5) and Wichita State (W, 5-2). He bounced back from a doubles loss to the nation's 16th-ranked tandem by rallying to victory in a tiebreaker at No. 3 singles over the Red Raiders' Rafael Garcia [2-6, 6-3, 1-4 (4)]. The sophomore went on to beat Wichita State's Vlad Marinescu the following day in straight sets (6-2, 6-3) in his first appearance of the season at No. 1 singles. He earlier teamed with partner Sören Goritzka in doubles to down Valentin Mihai / Matheus Pereira (8-4).