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Oklahoma State University Men Team News
Cowboys Fall In Sweet 16 To Virginia
Sunday, 05/22/2016

TULSA, Okla. – The Oklahoma State men's tennis team advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2008, but fell just short, 4-2, against the top seeded Virginia Cavaliers on Friday at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center.
"The guys fought extremely hard. I think this was kind of a depiction of how we've played all season," coach Jay Udwadia said. "We were just battling. It was no different today. The overall season, I think I told someone once we're done you can look back and see what we did. We did some good, special things and I like the direction of our program, where we're going. As a coach you want to keep on building and that's going to continue to be our goal. But, I want to say a huge thank you for our whole staff here, Nate, my assistant, Nick, our strength coach, our trainers, everyone, it's the athletic department that really helps us out as well. I want to send a huge thank you to them and the team, for every match, being there and making a special season for the Pokes." 
The Pokes finish off the season with a record 20-8 and a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tennis Championships for the first time since 2008. Also, the Cowboys wrap up the year with 12 victories against ranked opponents, including three wins against top 15 foes.
The match got started at 1 p.m. CT after it was delayed from the original start time of noon due to the courts not being completely dry yet because of yesterday's rain.
OSU's Lucas Gerch/Jurence Mendoza looked to keep their strong play going against the Cavaliers as they entered the match riding a five-match winning streak in doubles. Virginia's Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Mac Styslinger came out to play as they broke the Cowboys' early serve and went on to win the match on two, 6-1.
All-American's Arjun Kadhe/Julian Cash also had a slow start on court one as No. 4-ranked Luca Corinteli/Ryan Shane took advantage of it by taking an early 4-2 lead.
Meanwhile, Pokes Lukas Finzelberg/Tristan Meraut looked in prime position to collect another doubles victory this tournament as the Cowboy duo led 4-3 on court three, but Virginia's Corinteli/Shane put away Kadhe/Cash, 6-2, giving the Cavaliers a 1-0 heading into singles play.
After the slow start in doubles, No. 56 Cash made a strong comeback in the first set against Virginia's No. 8 Shane by winning five of six games after trailing 1-2 to take the set, 6-3.
Kadhe followed Cash's first set win with one of his one on two as the two-time All-American stormed back in the set to force a tiebreak. In the tiebreak, Kadhe jumped on No. 33 Collin Altarmirano early and didn't look back as he went on to take the tiebreak 7-6(4).
Unfortunately, those would be the only two first sets the Cowboys would win because the Cavaliers ended up with four first set victories after winning crucial tiebreaks on courts three and four.
Virginia got on the board first in singles play with Henrik Wiersholm defeating Mendoza in straight-sets on six, 6-4, 6-3, to give the Cavaliers a 2-0 lead.
After a tough first set loss, Finzelberg made a remarkable turnaround in the second and third sets by only surrending four games in both and defeating Virginia's J.C. Aragone, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, to cut the Pokes deficit to two.
"That was probably my best match of the season," Finzelberg said.
Shortly after, Cash carried the momentum from Finzelberg's victory into the third set against Shane as he defeated the Cavalier in three sets, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, to cut the Virginia lead to one. The win marks the sophomore's sixth victory over a ranked opponent and his second over a top 10 singles player.  
"People always assumed that we were going to lose that match, but none of us felt that we were going to lose it from the start," Cash said. "I feel like my game has improved a lot and I'm a lot more happier on the court this year."
Meraut looked to keep the OSU momentum going after dropping the first set to No. 78 Alexander Ritschard, but the Pokes couldn't get going in the second set as he lost in straight-sets, 7-6(1), 6-1.
With the score now at 3-2, the Cowboys comeback looked to be in doubt, but the two upperclassman Kadhe and Gerch were making their moves on two and three.
Gerch battled to win the second set against No. 9 Kwiatkowski and began to pull away in the second set as he put some distance between himself and the Cavalier by taking a 5-2 lead.
On court two, Kadhe was locked in a tight one with No. 33 Altarmirano and took a 1-0 lead in the third set as Gerch was ready to close, but Altarmirano won six of the next seven games to win the match and give the Cavaliers a 4-2 victory.
With the season gone, Kadhe and Cash will participate in the NCAA Singles & Doubles Championship next week. Cash will play in the singles and doubles championship, while Kadhe will play in the doubles championship with Cash after earning an automatic bid.
For more information and updates, follow @CowboyTennis on Instagram and Twitter.
Link to Flickr gallery:
No. 1 Virginia def. No. 16 Oklahoma State, 4-2
1. #4 Luca Corinteli/Ryan Shane (Virginia) def. #10 Julian Cash/Arjun Kadhe (Oklahoma State), 6-2
2. #16 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Mac Styslinger (Virginia) def. Lucas Gerch/Jurence Mendoza (Oklahoma State), 6-1
3. Lukas Finzelberg/Tristan Meraut (Oklahoma State) def. Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (Virginia), 4-3 DNF
Order of Finish: 2, 1
1. #56 Julian Cash (Oklahoma State) def. #8 Ryan Shane (Virginia), 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
2. #33 Collin Altamirano (Virginia) def. Arjun Kadhe (Oklahoma State), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-2
3. #9 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (Virginia) vs. Lucas Gerch (Oklahoma State), 7-6 (3), 4-6, 5-5 DNF
4. #78 Alexander Ritschard (Virginia) def. Tristan Meraut (Oklahoma State), 7-6 (1), 6-1
5. Lukas Finzelberg (Oklahoma State) def. #110 J.C. Aragone (Virginia), 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
6. Henrik Wiersholm (Virginia) def. Jurence Mendoza (Oklahoma State), 6-4, 6-3
Order of Finish: 6, 5, 1, 4, 2