Oklahoma Men’s Tennis: National Championship Bid Falls Just Short


Oklahoma men’s tennis is one of the best in the nation. and many Sooner fans may not even be aware of it.

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The tennis program doesn’t get the same attention as the major Sooner sports programs, but with three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Championship finals, it has clearly proved it has both the aptitude and the attitude to compete at the highest national level of the sport.

For the second consecutive year, OU faced Virginia in the national championship match, and for a second time the Cavaliers walked off with the championship trophy. Given the bracket-busting road the Sooner men traveled this year to reach the finals of the NCAA Championship was a major accomplishment in its own rite and one that pleasantly surprised even the most optimistic of Sooner tennis followers.

It is difficult enough to make it all the way through to any national final, let alone three times in as many years. Unfortunately, the Sooner men have not been able to get that final match victory that would deliver a national championship.

A year ago, the Sooners were the top seed in the NCAA Championship, but No. 3 Virginia spoiled Oklahoma’s championship bid with a 4-1 victory. This year those same two teams went up against each other, only the Cavaliers held the top seed this time around, while the Sooners were the No. 11 overall national seed. Virginia won by the same 4-1 score in this year’s championship match.

“Virginia just outplayed us,” said OU men’s coach John Roddick in an article posted on the Oklahoma athletic website. “I don’t feel we gave anything away.”

The Sooners came up short, but they certainly have nothing to hang their heads over.

In fairness, no one would have predicted at the start of this year’s NCAA Men’s Championship that Oklahoma would advance as far as it did.

The Sooners were unable to defend their 2015 Big 12 Championship, falling to eventual champion TCU in the semifinals of the conference tournament. They ended the regular season with a 15-10 record and began the long journey in the NCAA Tournament as the No. 11 national seed.

OU breezed through the regional pairings in Norman, but then had to get by higher seeds in the subsequent rounds, which the Sooners did, with upset victories over No. 6 Wake Forest, No. 3 UCLA and No. 7 Georgia on their way to the championship final with Virginia.

A sensational way to end the season for OU men’s team tennis, and it’s not finished yet for Sooner senior Axel Alvarez. Alvarez, who is in the 64-man championship field in individual singles, defeated No. 17 Austin Smith of Georgia in his opening match to advance.