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Baylor Preps For No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners
Thursday, 04/09/2015
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Mate Zsiga(1).jpg
Bears looking to snap two-match losing streak to Sooners.

Baylor University Team Page

WACO, Texas – The second-ranked Baylor men’s tennis team will host No.1 Oklahoma at the Hurd Tennis Center Friday at 6 p.m.  
 
“It’s going to be a blast,” head coach Matt Knoll said. “I’ve been here a long time and this is only going to be the second time we’ve ever had this situation. On top of that we’ll have a No.1 vs. No. 2 match in singles as well, so it’s going to be a special day. It’s a big day for the program and something that we’re very excited about. It’s going to bring out the best in us.” 
 
Admission to the match is free, while the first 300 fans will receive free pizza and a free Baylor Tennis tank-top shirt.
 
The match will be the third time this season that the two teams have played. Oklahoma won the first two matches at neutral sites with victories in the National Team Indoor Championship finale, 4-2, on Feb. 15, and the BNP Paribas Collegiate Challenge title match, 4-1, on March 22.
 
Baylor enters the match with an overall record of 17-3, while posting a 10-1 record at home on the season. The Bears beat No. 13 TCU, 4-0, in their lone Big 12 match of the season.
 
Friday’s match will be the second time that the Hurd Tennis Center will host a match between the country’s top two teams. The first occurrence of No. 1 versus No. 2 in Waco happened on March 5, 2005 when top-ranked Baylor beat No. 2 Virginia, 4-3.
 
Baylor trails the all-time series against the Sooners 22-20, but leads 19-9 in the Matt Knoll era. However, Oklahoma has won eight of the last 10 in the series, after the Bears had won 17-straight in the series from 1998-2011.
 
Along with the top two teams facing off, the country’s No.1 and No. 2 singles players will go head-to-head in the No.1 singles spot for each team as Baylor’s top-ranked Julian Lenz is slated to play OU’s Axel Alvarez Llamas.
   
Lenz leads the Bears with an 11-2 record on the season. The junior Bear has beat a player ranked No. 2 in the country twice already this season, dismantling UCLA’s Mackenzie McDonald, 6-4, 6-2, and then sweeping Ryan Shane, 6-4, 7-5, of Virginia.
 
Baylor has three other ranked players in singles with Tony Lupieri, Max Tchoutakian, and Mate Zsiga  listed at No.31, 61, and 117 respectively in the latest ITA rankings. The Bears are led in doubles with Lupieri joining Felipe Rios to be ranked No. 38, while Lupieri and Zsiga are listed as the country's 51st-best duo. Julian Lenz and Diego Galeano are also ranked for the Bears as the nation’s 54th-best tandem.
 
Oklahoma comes to Waco with a 20-1 (2-0) record and fresh off a nine day break before the match against the Bears. The Sooners only loss on the year came at Texas A&M on Feb. 20. 
 
“I think they’re super good,” Knoll said. “I think the margins are small when you go against the best teams like this. We have to focus. We have to have fight. We have to do the intangible things, and I think we’re going to have a chance. Having the chance to play in front of a big crowd here is going to be a special event for our guys and build a lot of enthusiasm and momentum going into the NCAA Championships.” 
 
Individually, OU is led by No. 2 Alvarez Llamas, No. 7 Andrew Harris, No. 30 Dane Webb, and No. 70 Alexandru Ghilea. The Sooners have two ranked doubles teams as well with Llamas partnering with Webb to be ranked No. 8, while Ghilea tandems with Harris to be the 52nd-ranked duo.
 
Baylor is 1-8 under Knoll in matches against No. 1 ranked teams and 54-61 in matches against top-10 opponents.
 
Baylor last hosted a No. 1 team in Waco on March 11, 2013 with the top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers winning, 6-1. Baylor’s only win over a No. 1 ranked team came on March 15, 2011 when the Bears took down top-ranked Tennessee, 4-3.
 
Live scoring, live video and a live blog for the match against OU will be provided on BaylorBears.com.
 
Following the match versus Oklahoma, Baylor will hold its Senior Day against No. 25 Oklahoma State Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Hurd Tennis Center. 
 
For the latest news on the Baylor men's tennis team follow its official Twitter account: @BaylorMTennis.


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