STILLWATER, Okla. — A day after the No. 19 Arkansas men’s tennis team won its first NCAA Tournament match since 2006, the Razorbacks exited the bracket at the hands of No. 16 Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys defeated Arkansas 4-0 on Sunday at Michael and Anne Greenwood Tennis Center, with the Hogs leading on two singles courts at the time of clinch.
“Congratulations to Oklahoma State, they were better than us today and that was the biggest factor in the match,” head coach Andy Jackson said. “We weren’t able to physically match what they had on the second day and that was another factor.”
In doubles play, Arkansas’ No. 19 pair of Giammarco Micolani and Mike Redlicki defeated OSU’s No. 10 duo of Julian Cash and Arjun Kadhe by a score of 6-4. The Razorbacks had a bit of payback Sunday, as the top doubles match went the way of Micolani-Redlicki, rather than to Cash-Kadhe, as it did Feb. 7 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, by a score of 6-3.
But that would be the lone doubles win for the Razorbacks (20-9), as the Cowboys took 6-4 results at the No. 2 and No. 3 spots to earn the opening point and, in turn, a 1-0 lead.
Moving on to singles, OSU (19-7) claimed a trio of straight-set victories at the No. 3, No. 6 and No. 4 spots to set the final score at 4-0.
At the top singles spot was a heavyweight battle between No. 21 Redlicki and No. 56 Cash. The Hogs’ lefty entered a back-and-forth match before breaking Cash to claim the opening set, 7-5. Redlicki then had a 4-2 lead in the second set when he and his opponent were called off the court.
No. 62 Jose Salazar, meanwhile, led 6-4, 5-4 at the time of the clinch over Arjun Kadhe. Salazar hoped to avenge a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 loss to Kadhe on Feb. 7, but fell just short of having the opportunity to do so.
Arkansas finished the 2016 season with a 20-9 overall record, including a 7-5 mark in Southeastern Conference play. The Razorbacks reached the 20-win plateau for the first time since 1986, and for only the third time in program history. Their NCAA first round victory over Wichita State was the Hogs’ first since 2006.
“On the season, we came from No. 69 to finish top 20 and win a round in the NCAA Tournament,” Jackson said. “We feel really good about the direction we’re going in. But I know what it takes to go further and we’ll try to do that next year.”
The Razorbacks will have representatives in each of the NCAA Championships singles and doubles brackets, competing from May 25-30 at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
For singles, No. 21 Redlicki earned one of 50 at-large spots, while the No. 19 Micolani-Redlicki duo will have an opportunity to play for the doubles title among the 31 other pairs. In addition, No. 62 Jose Salazar is listed as the sixth alternate in the singles draw.
1. No. 19 Giammarco Micolani/Mike Redlicki (AR) def. No. 10 Julian Cash/Arjun Kadhe (OSU) 6-4
2. Lucas Gerch/Jurence Mendoza (OSU) def. Santiago Munoz/Adam Sanjurjo (AR) 6-4
3. Lukas Finzelberg/Tristan Meraut (OSU) def. Jose Salazar/Johan den Toom (AR) 6-4
1. No. 56 Julian Cash (OSU) vs. No. 21 Mike Redlicki (AR) 5-7, 2-4, unfinished
2. Arjun Kadhe (OSU) vs. No. 62 Jose Salazar (AR) 4-6, 4-5, unfinished
3. Lucas Gerch (OSU) def. Santiago Munoz (AR) 6-4, 6-0
4. Tristan Meraut (OSU) def. Giammarco Micolani (AR) 6-1, 6-4
5. Lukas Finzelberg (OSU) vs. Adam Sanjurjo (AR) 6-3, 4-4, unfinished
6. Jurence Mendoza (OSU) def. William Albanese (AR) 6-2, 6-1
ORDER OF FINISH
Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (3,6,4)