Despite winning the doubles point Alabama falls to No. 5 Oklahoma at homeBy Ben Boynton | 02/07/2016 3:39pm
The Alabama men’s tennis team dropped a home match against No. 5 Oklahoma, 5-2 on Friday night at the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility. The loss moves Alabama to 5-3, and OU raises its record to 3-1.
Despite the loss, the team was still pleased with how it played.
“We finally played well in doubles,” assistant coach Ryler DeHeart said. “The guys fought really hard, and I was really proud of how they competed. I just wanted them to fight, and tonight I think they really brought it.”
Alabama excited its home crowd as it showed Oklahoma it meant business, claiming the doubles point from the Sooners. Sophomore Matthew Rossouw and freshman Spencer Richey triumphed 6-3, and senior Becker O’Shaughnessey and sophomore Grayson Goldin won 6-4, earning the point for the Crimson Tide. Freshman Mazen Osama and sophomore Korey Lovett were leading their doubles match, 5-4, when play was suspended.
Alabama came out hot to start the singles play, winning several early games, but Oklahoma rallied to take five-of-six first sets. From there, Oklahoma proved why it is ranked fifth nationally. First, Rossouw fell 6-0, 6-3, giving Oklahoma its first point. The Sooners then picked up a few more points, defeating Lovett, 7-6 (4), 6-1, and O’Shaughnessey, 6-4, 7-6 (4).
Oklahoma clinched the match with a victory over Goldin, 7-6 (6), 6-3.
The two remaining matches were played out, both reaching three sets. Alabama sophomore Danny Kerznerman lost, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3, to give Oklahoma its fifth point. However, the Crimson Tide took the last match of the night with Osama earning a long 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7) victory.
Osama rallied after being down 4-2 in his second set, and ultimately came away with the win. His opponent, Axel Alvarez, was the 2015 ITA National College Player of the Year, and a 2015 All-American in singles and doubles.
Osama was happy about his win, but he was also happy with the whole team’s effort.
“It was a tight game, and it felt good to beat an opponent as good as he is,” Osama said. “I think we competed really well, especially in the singles matches. There were a couple close games, and we just couldn’t end up on winning, but I feel like we competed pretty hard.”
Alabama has to quickly turn around after the nearly three-hour match in time for a doubleheader on Sunday, but DeHeart isn’t worried about the team being ready to play.
“We got to get the guys ready for Sunday,” he said. “We’ll have a little bit of a light practice, and then try to get them refreshed, get some rest, and just go back at it on Sunday.”
The Crimson Tide will face Troy and Lipscomb on Sunday at home, starting at 1 p.m.