Sooners Face First Road Test
NORMAN, Okla. -- The No. 8 University of Oklahoma men’s tennis team faces its first road tests of the season this weekend, traveling to No. 33 Indiana Friday, Feb. 1, and No. 9 Kentucky, Sunday, Feb. 3.
“It’s going to be different from here because everyone here is supporting OU,” freshman Axel Alvarez Llamas said. “There’s going to be [people supporting the other team]. I’m excited about that. I just want to have the experience. I think I can even play better there because I like people against our team. I think it motivates us more.”
The Sooners (3-0) first travel to Bloomington, Ind., to take on the Indiana Hoosiers (1-4) Friday at 1 p.m.
The Hoosiers are coming off a 4-3 loss to No. 25 LSU in the consolation match of the Mississippi State-hosted ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Indiana lost the first match of the tournament to No. 21 Auburn 6-1.
The team then travels to Lexington, Ky., Sunday, to play the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats (5-0), in OU’s first match of the season against a top-10 opponent.
Kentucky enters its match against the Sooners after beating No. 17 Texas 4-1 in the championship round of the Lexington Regional of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. The team beat No. 47 Michigan State in the first round of the tournament.
The Wildcats boast the ITA No. 15 player in the nation, junior Tom Jomby. Jomby also represents Kentucky in the doubles rankings, teaming with freshman Kevin Lai at No. 35.
The Sooners claim three ranked singles players in the ITA national rankings, with junior Guillermo Alcorta leading the way at No. 36. Junior Dane Webb and senior Costin Paval fall at No. 71 and No. 103, respectively.
OU’s No. 1 and 2 doubles teams both have spots in the ITA doubles rankings. All-Americans Paval and Webb partner to make the No. 12 tandem. Alcorta teams with Alvarez Llamas at No. 36, after the duo won the Central Region Championship in the fall.
OU enters their road weekend with wins over No. 28 Harvard and No. 30 Memphis, and a 7-0 sweep of Wichita State. Their win against Harvard in the championship match of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Norman awarded them a slot in the ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship Feb. 15-18 in Seattle, Wash.