Horns rally from 3-1 deficit but comeback bid falls short in season-ending loss to Tulsa.
NORMAN, Okla. – Thirteenth-seeded Texas (19-9) picked up singles wins from Kellen Damico, Daniel Whitehead and Jean Andersen, but No. 36 Tulsa (21-7) edged the Longhorns by a 4-3 count Saturday afternoon in the round of 32 at the NCAA Championships. The Golden Hurricane, who toppled host 20th-ranked Oklahoma in Friday’s opening round, advance to the NCAA round of 16 where it will meet fourth-seeded Ohio State. The loss snaps the Horns’ streak of five consecutive appearances in the NCAA round of 16.
Tulsa claimed the doubles point by winning two of three doubles matches. The Golden Hurricane initially struck at first doubles, where Ashley Watling and Clifford Marsland posted an 8-3 win over UT’s Ed Corrie and Vasko Mladenov. The Longhorns struck back at third doubles, where Andersen and Whitehead knocked off Grant Ive and Tristan Jackson by an 8-4 margin.
The deciding match at second doubles pitted UT’s Ben Chen and Damico against Tulsa’s Marcelo Arevalo and Japie DeKlerk. At 7-games all, the Tulsa duo broke the Texas tandem and took the final two games to win the match, 9-7 and clinch the doubles point for the Golden Hurricane.
Texas’ Damico put the Horns on the board and evened the match with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Tulsa’s De Klerk at second singles. Tulsa reclaimed the lead at fourth singles, where Marsland posted a 6-2, 6-3 win over UT’s Chen. The Golden Hurricane pushed its lead to 3-1 at first singles, where Arevalo topped UT’s Corrie, 6-4, 6-2.
Texas, however, would not go away. UT’s Whitehead took the first set off of Tulsa’s Jackson at sixth singles, 6-2. Jackson took the next set, 6-4, but Whitehead cruised through the final set, 6-1 to pull Texas within 3-2. At third singles, UT’s Andersen dropped the first set to Tulsa’s Watling in a tiebreaker, 9-7. Andersen broke Watling’s serve early in the second set and held on to take the set, 6-4 to prolong the match. Andersen and Watling were knotted at three in the final set before Andersen took the final three games to win the match and even the team score at three points apiece.
The deciding match at fifth singles featuring Texas’ Mladenov against Tulsa’s Ive went to a tiebreaker in the opening set, where Ive prevailed, 7-5. A tight second set progressed into a tie at five games apiece before Mladenov claimed the ensuing two games to win the set, 7-5. Ive broke Mladenov early in the third set, and with a 4-3 lead, he took the remaining two games to win the match and secure the victory for Tulsa.
Texas’ Ed Corrie and Kellen Damico will begin play in the 64-player singles draw at the NCAA Championships on May 25 at Stanford University. Corrie and Jean Andersen will open play in the 32-team doubles draw on May 26 at Stanford.
NCAA Championships – Round of 32
No. 36 Tulsa 4, No. 13 Texas 3
Headington Family Tennis Center – Norman, Okla.
Doubles – Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2
1 #24 Watling/Marsland (Tulsa) def. Corrie/Mladenov (Texas) 8-3
2 Arevalo/De Klerk (Tulsa) def. Chen/Damico (Texas) – 9-7
3 Andersen/Whitehead (Texas) def. Ive/Jackson (Tulsa) – 8-4
Singles – Order of Finish: 2, 4, 1, 6, 3, 5
1 #27 Marcelo Arevalo (Tulsa) def. #35 Ed Corrie (Texas) – 6-4, 6-2
2 #48 Kellen Damico (Texas) def. #62 Japie De Klerk (Tulsa) – 6-3, 6-1
3 Jean Andersen (Texas) def. #88 Ashley Watling (Tulsa) – 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-3
4 #99 Clifford Marsland (Tulsa) def. Ben Chen (Texas) – 6-2, 6-4
5 Grant Ive (Tulsa) def. Vasko Mladenov (Texas) – 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3
6 Daniel Whitehead (Texas) def. Tristan Jackson (Tulsa) – 6-2, 4-6, 6-1
Texas head coach Michael Center
“It’s a disappointing finish to a season where we just couldn’t seem to gain any momentum. We kept making the same mistakes this year. We fought hard today, but we just didn’t make the plays when we needed to make them. That was kind of our story the second half of this season. Our seniors, Ed Corrie and Kellen Damico, had great careers. This was an unfortunate way to finish the season. Tulsa fought hard and played really well this weekend. In the end, they deserved to win the match.”