The No. 20-ranked University of Tulsa men's tennis team defeated No. 10 Oklahoma 4-1 Saturday afternoon to advance to the NCAA Round of 16 for the second-straight season and the second time in school history.
The Golden Hurricane won a tightly-contested doubles point, and the team captured three singles matches to just one from the Big 12 Champions (19-4) in the winning effort. This was the second-straight year Tulsa upset the Sooners in the NCAA Tournament on their home courts.
Tulsa will now face No. 7 Pepperdine at 6 p.m. May 18 at the NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships in Athens, Ga. The match will be played at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, with the University of Georgia serving as the host.
The Golden Hurricane played host to the Waves Feb. 24 during the indoor portion of the season, and Pepperdine escaped Tulsa with a 4-3 victory.
"We had a great effort today. I thought we played well across the board and I was proud with how we competed," Tulsa Head Coach Vince Westbrook said. "We knew going in that this was going to be a prize fight. There were two amazing teams on these courts, both of which I believe should be in the Round of 16. (OU Head Coach) John Roddick has done a phenomenal job with his program."
The No. 11-ranked doubles team of senior Ashley Watling and junior Clifford Marsland avenged a loss from earlier this year as they topped No. 10 Costin Paval and Dane Webb 8-4 on the top court.
No. 56 Tsvetan Mihov and Peerakit Siributwong topped the junior duo of Grant Ive and Tristan Jackson 8-4 at the second position, but the Golden Hurricane captured the first point of the match when sophomore Japie De Klerk and freshman Alejandro Espejo held on for an 8-6 win over Lawrence Formentera and David Pultr at the third court.
Oklahoma got its lone point of the match at No. 4 singles after No. 96 Dane Webb was first off court with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Ive.
Jackson answered back at the fifth position with a 6-2, 6-2 win of his own over Siributwong.
No. 97-ranked Marsland gave TU a 3-1 advantage as he battled to a 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) upset win over No. 61 Guillermo Alcorta at the second court.
No. 77-ranked Watling, the lone senior of the team, sent the Golden Hurricane back to the Round of 16 for the second-straight year when he came back to defeat Mihov 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 from the third flight.
The savvy veteran has now won 86 career singles victories, moving him into a tie for sixth on TU's all-time charts with Patrick Huewe (1989-93).
Espejo fought his way to a 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 2-1 lead over Pultr at the bottom of the lineup before his match was stopped. On the top court, No. 117-ranked De Klerk was down match point to No. 12 Paval at 6-3, 6-6 (6-5) when the match was halted.