Orlando, Fla. – The top-seeded Tulsa men’s tennis team won its fourth-straight Conference USA Men’s Tennis Championship after defeating second-seeded Rice, 4-1, in the title match on Sunday afternoon in Orlando, Fla. The Hurricane becomes the first team in league history to win four consecutive conference titles, with all of its championships coming against Rice.
Tulsa earns Conference USA’s automatic berth into the NCAA Championships with the win.
Senior Alberto Sottocorno clinched the victory with a 7-6 (5), 6-2, win over Sam Garforth-Bles in the No. 4 singles position. Teammates drenched Sottocorno with a cooler of water as the Hurricane celebrated its championship on the No. 4 court.
Senior Arnau Brugues, the nation’s top-ranked singles player, won his No. 1 singles match against 47th-ranked Bruno Rosa, 6-1, 7-5, to give him a perfect 3-0 singles record for the tournament. Brugues also improved his singles record to an incredible 40-3 mark on the season.
No. 32 Tulsa (21-9) got on the board first by securing the doubles point with victories in the No. 2 and 3 positions. Marko Ballok and Arnau Brugues cruised past Dennis Polyakov and Christian Saravia, 8-1, in the third flight, followed by Philip Stephens and Ashley Watling defeating Bruno Rosa and Isamu Tachibana, 8-5, in the No. 2 slot to give the Hurricane the 1-0 lead.
No. 37 Rice (17-10) responded in singles action as Tobias Scheil upset 86th-ranked Philip Stephens, 6-4, 6-4, in the No. 3 position, tying the match at 1-1. However, Tulsa won the next three matches to claim the conference championship.
As Tulsa posed for its celebration picture after the match, a white t-shirt with “Ross” printed across the top laid at the base of the trophy in honor of senior Ross Cunningham who was injured in a car accident last month.
Tulsa will now await the unveiling of the NCAA Division I tournament bracket. First- and second-round matches are scheduled for campus sites on May 8-9.