Bears fall to Texas Tech in Big 12 opener

Will Little, a redshirt freshman from Joplin, Mo., rallies during doubles play against Texas A&M. Photo credit: Penelope Shirey

The Baylor Bear’s men’s tennis team fell short Saturday in a 4-3 loss to the No. 12 Texas Tech Red Raiders. The Bears are now 11-9 overall, and 0-1 in conference play.

Baylor took an early lead against the Red Raiders by winning the doubles point. Freshman Jimmy Bendeck and senior Felipe Rios won the point for Baylor and ended doubles play with a 6-3 victory.

However, Texas Tech tied the match at 1-1 with a victory over junior Tyler Stayer. Stayer fell after two sets with the scores of 6-1, 6-2.

Texas Tech soon took the lead after freshman Tommy Podvinski lost his match in two sets as well. Podvinski struggled as well Saturday evening as the scores were 6-1 and 6-0.

The lead was quickly extended to 3-1 as Rios also lost in two sets with scores of 6-4, 6-1.

However, Baylor soon found a ray of hope as senior Julian Lenz shortened the gap to make the match 3-2. The No. 20 Lenz pulled off the upset against No. 14 Felipe Soares on court 1 in 2 sets with scores of 6-4, 7-5.

Jimmy Bendeck then tied it up for the Bears with a win on court 4. Bendeck won the first set 6-2. However, the next set was much closer and resulted in in tiebreaker in which Bendeck eventually won, 7-6(5), to make the score 3-3.

Finally, Texas Tech pulled away with the victory over junior Max Tchoutakian. After winning the first set 7-6, Tchoutakian dropped the second set 6-2 to force a third set.

Tchoutakian broke away early for a 3-1 lead in the final set, but couldn’t hold off Texas Tech senior Hugo Dojas. After tying the game at 3-3, Tchoutakian and Dojas traded points back and forth until they finally had to enter a third-set tiebreaker.

After Tchoutakian took the lead at 2-1, he allowed Dojas back into the game, and eventually to tie it at 3-3. After tying, Tchoutakian regained the lead, yet hit a backhand straight into the net to tie it at 4-4. Dojas then returned Tchoutakian’s serve with a vengeance to take the 5-4 lead.

Dojas then aced the serve to take a 6-4 lead, but then double faulted to make the score 6-5. However, Tchoutakian clipped the net on a backhand, forcing the ball to pop into the air and land on his side of the net, giving the Red Raiders the 4-3 victory.

Although disappointed with the loss, Baylor head coach Matt Knoll was proud of his team’s effort.

“We fought like little dogs, but that is the way it goes sometimes. Credit their guy. He played big under pressure,” said Knoll.

Knoll was also excited about his team’s victory in doubles and cites that as an important key for the Bears success.

“Our No. 1 doubles team had a huge win. They have developed and improved a ton. That is a team that has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the country at that we beat. I am really proud of them,” said Knoll. “That has been a real positive for us. We have tried to figure out a way to give ourselves the best chance to win the doubles point.”

The Bears will look to get their first conference victory and defend their home court on Tuesday against the University of Texas.