Jan. 31, 2014
STILLWATER, Okla. -
The No. 50 Oklahoma State men's tennis team pulled off one its biggest wins in program history on Friday, defeating No. 6 Tennessee, 4-2, in front of a sellout crowd at the Greenwood Tennis Center.
OSU (6-0) roared back from a 2-0 deficit behind wins at Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 5 singles, giving the squad its best start since racing out to a 7-0 record in 1997. The win also marks the team's fourth victory over a currently ranked opponent this year, signaling a massive turnaround after only defeating one ranked opponent in 2013.
"Our players responded incredibly well in clutch situations, especially those tiebreakers and close sets where they earned some key points," Head Coach Jay Udwadia said. "The crowd really helped us improve, and they were an incredibly rowdy bunch."
An upset bid looked bleak for the Cowboys after losing the doubles point in a 6-5(4) tiebreak loss to Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese, the country's top-ranked doubles duo. Sebastian Sachs and Jakob Sude nearly pulled off the upset at the No. 1 spot despite being down 5-2 early on.
Brady Bohrnstedt and Arjun Kadhe made quick work of Tennessee's No. 2 doubles pair, defeating the 28th-ranked Brandon Fickey and Jarrod Chaplin, 6-3. However, Lucas Gerch and Matt Campbell were unable to capitalize at the No. 3 spot, falling to Kerner/Dromsky, 6-4, as the Vols jumped out to a 1-0 lead.
Things quickly turned around for Oklahoma State in singles play, as Kadhe, Sude, Gerch and Chris Haworth earned set leads over each of their respective opponents. Bohrnstedt dropped his first set, but came firing back in the second to give the Cowboys slight control over singles play.
Reese, ranked No. 16 in ITA's Men's Singles Rankings, responded with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Sachs at the No. 2 spot to give the Volunteers a commanding 2-0 lead, but it would be the last victory Tennessee would record on the evening.
Freshman Lucas Gerch got the Pokes rolling on the comeback trail in a 6-3, 6-5(3) triumph over Bartosz Sawicki at No. 4 singles. Bohrnstedt then completed a rebound win of his own by dominating the second and third sets against Andrew Dromski, pulling out a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 success that tied the match at two and shifted the match's momentum toward the home side and the Greenwood Tennis Center's packed crowd.
The Cowboys then grabbed the lead after Sude finished off 34th-ranked Mikelis Libietis, battling the fellow European in two set-deciding tiebreakers before eventually overpowering Libietis, 6-5(1), 6-5(4). Sude's point at the No. 1 spot was his first over a ranked opponent in his OSU career and moved him to 2-0 in dual play.
With third set deficits at the decisive Nos. 3 and 6, Oklahoma State found itself in a hole with Kadhe and Haworth both trailing 3-1.
Only playing in the sixth match of his young collegiate career and freshman campaign, Kadhe reeled off five consecutive games to end the Tennessee threat and cap off one the greatest team performances in Cowboy Tennis history. The win was his second match-clinching finish of the season after cementing the team's triumph over No. 34 Minnesota earlier this year.
"You can kind of sense that you have the match when you look at the scores of all six scoreboards and know the fans are getting more and more into it with each point," Udwadia said. "This match moved with the momentum, and our guys getting big points in key matches to help us make the momentum swing back to our side was the difference."
The Cowboys will look to continue their stellar season-opening run next weekend when they travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to take on No. 32 Alabama and previously-ranked Georgia State. The weekend set marks the second and third matches of a grueling eight-match stretch against opponents ranked in ITA's Preseason Top 75.
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No. 50 Oklahoma State 4, No. 6 Tennessee 2
January 31, 2014 | Stillwater, Okla. | Greenwood Tennis Center
1. #1 Libietis/Reese (TENN) def. Sude/Sachs (OSU) 6-5 (4)
2. Kadhe/Bohrnstedt (OSU) def. #28 Fickey/Chaplin (TENN) 6-3
3. Kerner/Dromsky (TENN) def. Gerch/Campbell (OSU) 6-4
Order of finish: (2, 3, 1)
1. Jakob Sude (OSU) def. #34 Mikelis Libietis (TENN) 6-5(2), 6-5(4)
2. #16 Hunter Reese (TENN) def. Sebastian Sachs (OSU) 6-0, 6-4
3. Arjun Kadhe (OSU) def. Jarrod Chaplin (TENN) 6-5(1), 4-6, 6-3
4. Lucas Gerch (OSU) def. Bartosz Sawicki (TENN) 6-3, 6-5(3)
5. Brady Bohrnstedt (OSU) def. Andrew Dromski (TENN) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
6. Chris Haworth (OSU) vs. Markus Kerner (TENN) 6-4, 4-6, 1-3 uf.
Order of finish: (2, 4, 5, 1, 3)