Juniors Japie De Klerk and Clifford Marsland, along with freshman Carlos Bautista picked up singles victories against ranked opponents, but it wasn't enough as the No. 21 Tulsa men's tennis squad dropped a 4-3 decision to No. 3 UCLA at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.
The Golden Hurricane (8-6), in only its third outdoor match of the season, battled the Bruins (14-1), but ultimately fell short.
TU dropped the doubles point, as De Klerk and Bautista earned a hard-fought 9-7 win at No. 3 doubles over Dennis Mkrtchian and Clay Thompson. At No. 1 doubles, sophomore Alejandro Espejo and Marsland lost a close 9-8 (5) affair against Alex Brigham and Dennis Novikov.
UCLA won the first three singles matches to win the match, but TU battled tough in the final three matches.
TU picked up its first point of the day at No. 1 singles, as No. 66 De Klerk defeated No. 28 Novikov 6-3, 6-2. De Klerk has now won seven singles matches in a row.
At No. 2 singles, Marsland, ranked No. 100 in the ITA rankings, took down No. 8 Marcos Giron 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 1-0. The win marked Marsland's third victory against a ranked foe this year.
Bautista captured TU's final point with a come from behind win at No. 5 singles. After losing the first set 7-6 (8-6), Bautista rallied to win the second set, 6-4, and the tie breaker 1-0 (10-5).
"We weren't consistent in our lineup," commented Head Coach Vince Westbrook. "We should have won the doubles point, and against a team like this that is a national contender, we need everyone to contribute. We just weren't tough enough today, but once we get some more experience outdoors we will win matches like this."
Tulsa will have almost two weeks off before facing Wichita State on Wednesday, March 27 in a 5 p.m. tilt at the Michael D. Case tennis Center. TU will conclude the regular season playing four of its final five matches at home.
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Tennis Match Results
#3 UCLA 4, #21 Tulsa 3
Mar 14, 2013 at Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Tennis Center)
1. #66 Japie De Klerk (TU) def. #28 Dennis Novikov (UCLA) 6-3, 6-2
2. #100 Clifford Marsland (TU) def. #8 Marcos Giron (UCLA) 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 1-0
3. #24 Adrien Puget (UCLA) def. Alejandro Espejo (TU) 6-1, 6-2
4. #51 Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA) def. Grant Ive (TU) 6-3, 6-3
5. Carlos Bautista (TU) def. #116 Clay Thompson (UCLA) 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, 1-0 (10-5)
6. Karue Sell (UCLA) def. Tristan Jackson (TU) 6-3, 6-2
1. Alex Brigham/Novikov (UCLA) def. Espejo/Marsland (TU) 9-8(5)
2. #29 Puget/Sell (UCLA) def. Ive/Jackson (TU) 8-3
3. Bautista/De Klerk (tu) def. Mkrtchian/Thompson (UCLA) 9-7
Match Notes: Tulsa 8-6; National ranking #21
UCLA 14-1; National ranking #3
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (4,6,3,1,2,5)