Men’s Tennis drops the ball in AAC Quarterfinals

Sports editor Jaralynn Tammi Morellano says Tulsa’s first round victory was short lived.

The University of Tulsa’s men’s tennis team, seeded fifth, met the 12-seed Wichita State Shockers in the American Athletic Conference Men’s Tennis Championship. After coming out on top of the Shockers on April 18, it moved on to face the No. 4 seed Rice in the quarterfinals. Tulsa’s stellar performances in its Wichita matches pushed it further into the AAC Championships.

The Golden Hurricane overcame its first obstacle in the tournament with a 4-1 victory on the outdoor courts of the Michael D. Case Tennis Center. The first battles went down in the doubles portion of the competition, the first two matches giving both teams a win.

The first doubles match ended in favor of Tulsa when No. 41 Pierce Rollins and Timothy Seger beat Richey King and Misha Kvantaliani 6-2. Not allowing the Golden Hurricane an easy point, Wichita duo Luke Bracks and Alejandro Jacome took down their opponents to tie the doubles portion of the competition. It was all left up to the second position match between Vanja Hodzic and Marcelo Sepulveda and Callum Gale and Gus Tettamble. Hodzic and Sepulveda took the match 7-6 to take the doubles point to give Wichita an early leg up in the competition.

As singles matches came underway, Tulsa’s Victor Tosetto took a quick 6-0, 6-1 victory against King to tie the teams 1-1. Following his quick victory was Seger, who was able to finish off his opponent 6-1 in the second set to put Tulsa in the lead. From there on, Tulsa would take two more matches, with the last two being left unfinished.

The 4-1 victory ended Wichita’s season, putting its final record at 5-18. The Golden Hurricane moved on to the quarterfinal round, where it faced the Rice Owls on Friday, April 19. The tables turned for the Golden Hurricane who was served up the same taste that befell Wichita the day before. The Rice Owls blocked Tulsa off from the semifinal round with a 1-4 victory.

The Golden Hurricane was down from the start when Rice took the doubles points with just two games left, the third of which was left unfinished.

Despite going into single matches up 1-0, Rice did not let up any pressure as it cruised to victory. The only point earned by Tulsa was thanks to No. 82 Rollins, who defeated Yasha Zemel in a quick 6-1, 6-0 match. This tied up the game, but the Golden Hurricane was hit hard when an injury to freshman Tosetto forced him to retire from the sixth-position match.

Like a line of dominos, Tulsa players began to fall against the Owls in their matches. The last four matches gave Rice two more points, while two were left unfinished, diminishing any chance for Tulsa to stay in the competition. The last of Rice’s points was earned by Emir Sendogan, who defeated Seger in a three-set match.

This loss finalized Tulsa’s record to 15-13 overall and pushed Rice, who ranks No. 51 in the nation, into the semifinal round against No. 32 Memphis.