By Cody Soto
No. 10 Baylor men’s tennis made a remarkable run in the ITA National Indoor Championships last weekend, knocking off two ranked opponents and advancing to the National Semifinals.
But all good things came to an end when the Bears ran straight into No. 2-seed and Big 12 foe Oklahoma, dropping a close 4-2 decision on Sunday afternoon in Chicago.
“The biggest thing for us is we had opportunities in those matches,” head coach Matt Knoll said. “We really feel like we got a lot out of it and learned a lot about ourselves. There are things we could do better.”
The Bears looked dominant against their conference opponent during doubles play with two quick wins at the No. 2 and No. 3 position. Junior Felipe Rios and sophomore Vince Schneider took a 6-1 win while junior Julian Lenz and senior Diego Galeano topped OU 6-2 for the early 1-0 Baylor lead.
“I think our doubles play is a product of the unity and team spirit that we have,” Knoll said. “The guys are really enjoying being out there and you see that in the way they are playing.”
The Bears struggled in singles play quickly after that. Baylor only took two first set wins against the Sooners, and the points kept getting away from them.
No. 27-ranked senior Tony Lupieri dropped a 6-4, 6-0 loss to No. 31-ranked Dane Webb on court three while No. 67-ranked Max Tchoutakian lost 6-4, 6-4 on court two.
The Bears looked hopeful as Rios picked up a win on court six, but senior Mate Zsiga’s three-set loss on court five gave the Sooners the 4-2 win.
To get to the semifinals, Baylor knocked off No. 6 Duke and No. 3 Virginia earlier in the weekend. The Bears got the 4-3 upset over the Cavaliers with Zsiga’s third set win on Saturday.
Baylor returns home for a four-match home streak, beginning with No. 51 Purdue on Friday afternoon at the Hurd Tennis Center. Match time is set for 3 p.m. in Waco.