Texas men’s tennis resilient in victory over Oklahoma State

Ross Fisher

The No. 6 Texas men’s tennis team trumped No. 26 Oklahoma State 4-1 on Friday in a match that was much more level than the final scoreline suggested. 

After the match was delayed an hour due to slippery courts, Texas wasted no time snatching the doubles point with a pair of emphatic 6-2 victories at spots No. 1 and 2. They then rode narrow margins of victory at No. 3, 4 and 5 singles to clinch the overall victory over the Cowboys. 

At No. 1 doubles, the formidable sophomore duo of Eliot Spizzirri and Siem Woldeab put away Oklahoma State’s No. 1 doubles team in the country, senior Matej Vocel and junior Emile Hudd. Despite convincing victories in doubles, the Longhorns had mixed results in singles play. 

“It felt like we were in a lot of trouble for a good part of the match,” head coach Bruce Berque said. “I did not know where we were going to win a first set for a while there.” 

No. 120 Spizzirri failed to continue his run of defeating opponents in the ITA Top 50, falling to No. 49 Vocel 3-6, 3-6 at No. 1 singles. Spizzirri’s clouded headspace resulted in a disappointing outing, Berque said. 

“I do not think he had the right mindset today,” Berque said. “On his service games he was too tentative.”

Conversely, No. 57 Woldeab’s match against No. 101 Hudd at No. 2 was extremely tight, with the score at 4-6, 6-3, 3-4, but Texas had already clinched the overall match as the third set neared a blockbuster finish. 

This time, it was the rest of the singles lineup for Texas that willed them over the finish line. The first Longhorn victory in singles was from junior Chih Chi Huang, who won a tiebreaker to narrowly edge Oklahoma State sophomore Etienne Donnet 7-5, 7-6. 

To illustrate just how close the dual match was, No. 78 freshman Micah Braswell, sophomore Cleeve Harper and sophomore Evin McDonald all won a tiebreaker in their respective singles matches, showing the Longhorns’ resiliency. 

“It is definitely something we talk about a lot with them, the resiliency,” Berque said. “We had two very simple goals for the team of things we need to improve on, and that was definitely one of them.” 

Harper’s closely contested win over Oklahoma State senior Mathieu Scaglia gave Texas their third point by a score of 7-6, 6-3. Braswell then clinched the match by besting No. 86 senior Henrik Korsgaard at the No. 3 spot by the same nail-biting margin that Huang won by, 7-5, 7-6. 

Texas won’t have too long to bask in the glory of this win against a ranked Big 12 team, as they’ll have to do it all over again Sunday against bitter rival No. 28 Oklahoma.