FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas’ men’s tennis team ended the year ranked No. 24 in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll with senior Oggie Kolev earning a final singles ranking of No. 33.
Arkansas finished 15-10 and advanced to an NCAA Tournament regional final for the second straight year. The Razorbacks beat Tulsa, 4-3, in the first round before losing to eventual national champion Southern California, 4-0, in the regional at Tulsa. Last year, UA went 16-10 and beat North Carolina in the first round, 4-0, before losing to host SMU in the finals, 4-3. Arkansas also finished with a No. 24 national ranking in 2001.
“We’re happy about finishing in the top 25,” head coach Robert Cox says. “We played a very competitive schedule and had several quality wins.”
Southern Cal is No. 1, followed by Georgia, UCLA, Illinois, Pepperdine, Tennessee, Baylor, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Stanford, Florida, Auburn, California, Notre Dame, Texas, Texas A&M, Duke, Alabama, Virginia Commonwealth, South Carolina, Ohio State, Minnesota, South Florida, Arkansas, Washington, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Mississippi State, LSU and SMU. The only SEC member not ranked in the top 30 is Vanderbilt, which came in at No. 36.
During the year, Arkansas recorded wins over teams finishing ranked No. 6 (Tennessee), No. 8 (Kentucky), No. 20 (South Carolina), No. 36 (Vanderbilt), No. 38 (Tulane) and No. 43 (Tulsa, twice).
Arkansas, which has advanced to the NCAA Tournament six of the last nine years, has earned ITA top 35 final rankings 17 times in the last 24 years.
Kolev finished 27-14 and reached the second round of the individual championships at the NCAA Tournament. He beat Matt Klinger of Arizona State in the first round, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6, before being eliminated by Harsh Mankad of Minnesota, 6-3, 6-2.
Sophomore Nathan Price finished ranked No. 93 after going 14-9 at the No. 2 position and senior Magnus Kullenberg was ranked No. 110 after ending the year 10-6 at No. 3.
“Oggie had a great year,” Cox says. “I’m happy for him that he got a win in the NCAA Tournament. That was a good win for him and for our program. Several of our players had good years and I think that’s reflected with three of them earning national rankings. Nathan had a good first year for us and Magnus played well, especially after not playing at all in the fall.”