TCU had a 3-2 lead with a pair ofmatches to go, but couldn’t capitalize in the end
FORT WORTH – The TCU men’s tennis team put up a good fight under the Friday night lights, but dropped a 4-3 score to No. 23Tulsa at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center.
“This is a heartbreaking loss,” TCU head coach David Roditi said. “I thought that we played very good doubles. We handled the pressure very well on the doubles point. We continue to get great production out of our freshman Nick Chappell at No. 1, we just haven’t been able to win points at the bottom of the lineup. We had a great opportunity. We had it, but they played better and won more points than we did.”
The Horned Frogs made it interesting from the get-go, charming the crowd with a dramatic tiebreaking win in doubles to take an early 1-0 team lead. After Tulsa dropped TCU from the top court, 8-6, the Purple and White tandem of senior Daniel Sanchez and sophomore Max Stevens evened the doubles standings with an 8-6 victory of their own against Tulsa’s pairing of Alejandro Espejo and Grant Ive at the No. 2 court.
In the end, the Frogs’ freshman duo of Nick Chappell and Will Stein pulled out the defining doubles win with a 9-8 (6) decision against the Golden Hurricanes’ team of Japie De Klerk and Lucian Gheorghe, 9-8 (6).
The Golden Hurricane came out swinging to begin singles play, evening the team score quickly with a 6-1, 6-2 decision against the Frogs’ Facundo Lagunes at the No. 2 spot. Sanchez returned the lead to TCU with a convincing 6-3, 6-4 outcomeagainst Ive at the No. 4 position.
After Tulsa brought the team tally to 2-2 with a win at the No. 3 court, the three remaining matches were pushed into a third and deciding set.
TCU’s Nick Chappell needed his third frame as a formality, upending No. 67 De Klerk by the score of 6-3, 4-6, 6-0. The victory moved the Indianapolis newcomer to 9-3 for the spring, earning the highest-ranked win of his brief collegiate career. As Chappell ended the match to give his squad a 3-2 advantage, the Frogs found themselves down in the third set on the last two courts.
Tulsabrought the match to a 3-3 tie after Tristan Jackson outlasted Stein by thescore of 7-5, 1-6, 6-4, leaving the match hanging in the balance at the No. 6 court. TCU senior Paul Chappell was trailing in the final frame, but found the stroke he needed late, breaking Espejo’s serve to take a 6-5 lead in the third set. Unfortunately, the ball didn’t bounce his way in the end and Tulsa won the match on a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (3) decision.
TCU will continue the homestand with Oklahoma, March 25, at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center.
#23 Tulsa (8-7) def. #62 TCU (5-9), 4-3
Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center – Fort Worth, Texas
March 16, 2012
1. Nick Chappell (TCU) def. #67 Japie De Klerk (UT), 6-3, 4-6, 6-0
2. #97 Clifford Marsland (UT) def. Facundo Lugones (TCU), 6-1, 6-2
3. #75 Ashley Watling (UT) def. JT Sundling (TCU), 6-2, 6-4
4. Daniel Sanchez (TCU) def. Grant Ive (UT), 6-3, 6-4
5. Tristan Jackson (UT) def. Will Stein (TCU), 7-5, 6-1, 4-6
6. Alejandro Espejo (UT) def. Paul Chappell (TCU), 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (3)
Order of Finish: 2, 4, 3, 1, 5, 6*
1. #5Marsland/Watling (UT) def. P. Chappell/Sundling (TCU), 8-6
2. Sanchez/Stevens (TCU) def. Espejo/Ive (UT), 8-6
3. N.Chappell/Stein (TCU) def. De Klerk/Gheorghe (UT), 9-8 (6)
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3*