April 9, 2012
TULSA, Okla. -
The No. 24-ranked University of Tulsa men's tennis team will finish out the regular season on the road. TU will travel to three different towns in five days, beginning in Waco, Texas, with a 6 p.m. meeting April 11 with No. 32 Baylor (13-8). Tulsa will then face No. 39 Rice (16-7, 2-0 C-USA) at 1 p.m. April 13 in Houston, and the Golden Hurricane will end the road stretch with a noon match on April 15 at Tulane (10-9, 3-4 C-USA) in New Orleans.
SCOUTING THE BEARS
Baylor has won four of its last five matches, which includes victories over No. 7 Kentucky and No. 15 Texas. The Bears have also topped No. 42 Florida State, No. 54 Purdue, No. 58 Maryland, and No. 60 New Mexico State. Baylor has lost to No. 4 UCLA, No. 8 Florida, No. 9 Stanford, No. 10 California, No. 11 Texas A&M, No. 16 Auburn, No. 24 Tennessee, and No. 30 Texas Tech. Baylor has two ranked singles players in No. 21 Mate Zsiga and No. 87 Roberto Maytin, and the team also has the No. 42-ranked doubles team of Maytin and Marko Krickovic. Tulsa coach Vince Westbrook owns an 0-3 all-time mark against the Bears.
SCOUTING THE OWLS
Rice has lost two of its last three matches after ending a seven-match win streak. The Owls are 6-6 against ranked foes this season, which includes victories over No. 34 Memphis, No. 37 Miami, No. 49 TCU, No. 60 New Mexico State, No. 63 Tulane, and No. 68 TCU. Losses have been to No. 13 Oklahoma, No. 19 Texas, No. 25 Texas A&M, No. 31 San Diego, No. 33 LSU, and No. 42 Florida State. Rice has no ranked individuals, and the team is led by Michael Nuesslein (16-4) and Sam Garforth-Bles (15-6). Westbrook is 15-9 all-time against Rice. The two teams have met in the finals of the C-USA Championship each of the last six years.
SCOUTING THE GREEN WAVE
Tulane will host two opponents before meeting Tulsa. The team is currently 3-4 against teams from Conference USA. The team has defeated East Carolina, UCF and Southern Miss, while the Green Wave has also lost to No. 34 Memphis, No. 64 Rice, No. 67 UAB, and SMU. Tulane is 0-6 against ranked opposition, and the team has no ranked individuals. Rodrigo Rappaccioli leads the Green Wave with a 9-6 singles record this spring. Westbrook is 2-8 all-time against Tulane.
LAST TIME OUT
Senior Ashley Watling played his final match at home and won both his singles and doubles matches in convincing fashion. He posted a 6-1, 6-2 triumph on the third court, while he teamed with junior Clifford Marsland to win 8-2 at No. 1 doubles. Tulsa swept the doubles point and won all six singles matches, with only two needing a third set.
TULSA'S 8 LOSSES
All of Tulsa's eight losses this season have been to teams that were ranked inside the top 25 when they faced the Golden Hurricane. The lowest-ranked team to beat TU was No. 25 San Diego, and the Toreros are currently No. 17 in the nation. Six of the eight teams that have beaten Tulsa are now ranked higher then when they faced TU (No. 6 Kentucky, No. 8 Pepperdine, No. 12 California, No. 13 Oklahoma, No. 17 San Diego, No. 22 Washington), and the other two teams are inside the top 25 (No. 11 Stanford, No. 21 North Carolina).
GOLDEN HURRICANE DOMINATES C-USA TENNIS ATHLETE OF WEEK HONORS
The C-USA Men's Tennis Athlete of the Week award should be renamed The University of Tulsa Men's Tennis Athlete of the Week after TU's domination of the award the past two seasons. Members of the Golden Hurricane have won 17 of the 24 possible weekly honors dating back to the beginning of the 2011 campaign. Tulsa athletes won a league-record nine in a row to close out last year. The Golden Hurricane has already captured six of the first 10 honors this year, including five in a row earlier this season. Senior Ashley Watling (January 31, February 7) and juniors Tristan Jackson (February 14), Clifford Marsland (February 21, February 28) and Grant Ive (March 26) have all won the award this year.
IVE CLAIMS FIRST-CAREER WEEKLY HONOR
Junior Grant Ive was named the Conference USA Men's Tennis Athlete of the Week for the first time in his career on March 26. He went 3-0 and helped lead Tulsa to a 4-3 upset victory over No. 18 Fresno State. He defeated FSU's David Ayoun at No. 4 singles 6-3, 2-6, 6-2. He also teamed with freshman Alejandro Espejo to clinch the doubles point. TU also topped Hawai'i 5-1, and Ive defeated Carter Lam 6-1, 6-0.
UCF TO HOST CONFERENCE USA CHAMPIONSHIP
The 2012 Conference USA Championship is scheduled to take place April 19-22 at the UCF Tennis Complex in Orlando, Fla. This year's tournament will be broadcast by Fox Sports Net. Ron Thulin will be on the call, with Jimmy Arias providing color commentary. The FSN producer for the event will be Bob Steinfeld, and Mark Vittorio will be directing the championship. This will be the second time UCF will be hosting the event since the latest C-USA merger in 2005-06. The Knights also hosted the tournament in 2009. Other hosts have been Tulsa (2006, `11), Rice (2007, `10) and SMU (2008). The last time UCF hosted the event, top-seeded Tulsa captured the title with a 4-1 victory over No. 2 seed Rice. Senior Ashley Watling is the lone member of the Golden Hurricane who remains from that team. He posted a 3-1 record in the championship (1-0 singles, 2-1 doubles) his freshman year to help lead Tulsa to the championship. Two of his singles matches went unfinished.
TULSA AT THE C-USA CHAMPIONSHIP
Tulsa has competed in six C-USA Championships since joining the league in 2005-06, and the Golden Hurricane has captured five of those six titles. TU began its run in 2006, when the team defeated top-seed Rice 4-1 in the title. The Golden Hurricane has been the No. 1 seed in the last five tournaments, and the team has faced Rice in the title match all six years. The Owls' lone win came in 2010, when they defeated TU 4-3. Tulsa was able to reclaim the throne in 2011, winning all three matches by 4-0 decisions. The Golden Hurricane owns an all-time record of 17-1 (.944) in the Conference USA Championship.
TULSA STANDS AT NO. 24, THREE EARN INDIVIDUAL RANKS
Tulsa is currently ranked No. 24 in the most recent Campbell/ITA College Tennis rankings released April 3. The newest individual rankings were released March 27, and Tulsa's top doubles team of senior Ashley Watling and junior Clifford Marsland sit at No. 4 in the nation. Earlier in the season, Watling and Marsland tied the school record with their No. 3 doubles rank. Sophomore Japie De Klerk is the highest ranked singles player at No. 83, and he is followed by Watling (No. 89) and Marsland (No. 93).
WESTBROOK IN 21ST YEAR AT THE HELM
Vince Westbrook is currently in his 21st year at the helm of the men's tennis program. He reached the 300-win plateau last season, and he currently owns a 317-229 record for a .580 win percentage. The 317 wins are a school record.