April 8, 2009
The seventh-ranked Baylor men's tennis team pushed its winning streak to eight matches and improved to 4-0 in Big 12 Conference play by downing No. 12 Texas A&M, 5-2, Wednesday evening at the Baylor Tennis Center.
"We are just getting better," Baylor head coach Matt Knoll said. "I felt like we competed hard in all three doubles. I thought everybody gave themselves a chance and we were lucky to get two of them. In singles, we feel it is a good sign we have won at least four singles in all of the conference matches which kind of indicates we don't necessarily need the doubles, which gives us some confidence."
The Bears hold a 19-5 dual match record, and are 15-1 at the Baylor Tennis Center this season. Baylor has also won 13 of its last 15 matches overall. The win was the 80th all-time for Baylor in Big 12 regular season action, as the Bears improved their record to 80-13 over 12-plus season of conference play and 49-2 over the last seven-plus seasons. The Bears are also now the only unbeaten team remaining in Big 12 conference action with two matches left.
The 12th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies fell to 12-6 and had a win streak of seven matches snapped. It was the first loss in conference for the Aggies after starting 3-0 in Big 12 play. It was the fifth straight win for the Bears over the Aggies and since Matt Knoll took over at Baylor in 1997 the Bears are 15-5 versus A&M. The Bears are 16-30-1 all-time versus the Aggies.
"A&M is a great team, our traditional rivals," Knoll said. "It is great to have the crowds out. It is fun for the guys, these are the matches that are really fun to play and I am glad we were able to put on a good show tonight."
The Bears got a huge boost to start doubles as the 74th-ranked pair of Jordan Rux and David Galic upset the No. 3 squad of Conor Pollock and Austin Krajicek, 8-5. The Baylor duo is 9-4, after winning nine of its last ten matches. The Bears would then fall at No. 3 doubles as Marcus Lunt and Wil Spencer beat Dominik Mueller and Julian Bley, 8-5. This left the team of Denes Lukacs and Maros Horny fighting at the No. 2 spot in an effort to clinch the match against Alexey Grigorov and Colin Hoover. After being down 3-2, the pair rallied to win the next three points and closed out the match, 8-6.
After the doubles win, the Bears momentum was quickly wiped away as Attila Bucko fell to Grigorov, 6-1, 6-4. However, from there the Bears would win four of the next five singles matches to put away the Aggies. ITA All-American and seventh-ranked Lukacs was the next Bear off after rolling past No. 19 Pollock 7-5, 6-4. The junior is 17-3 and riding an 11-match win streak with all of his matches coming at the No. 1 singles slot. Bley followed Lukacs with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Lunt. Next Horny recovered from an opening set loss to win 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 over Hoover to clinch the match for the Bears. With the match in hand Mueller would fall to No. 30 Wil Spencer 2-6, 7-6(5), 1-0(7) to snap a win streak of eight matches. However, No. 44 Rux would close out the night for the Bears on a positive note as he dropped No. 51 Krajicek in three sets 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
"I felt like we had a really poor start on two courts in singles which was a little shocking," Knoll said. "We are looking for guys that give us a chance to win and if we do that on every court we feel like we will find our four points at the end of the day."
In Big 12 play so far, the Bears have cruised by No. 48 Oklahoma, 6-1 on March 4 at the Baylor Tennis Center, dominated No. 11 Texas, 6-1, in Austin on April 2, and edged Nebraska, 4-3, Saturday, April 4, before taking out Texas A&M. Baylor has won the doubles point in all four of those matches with its No. 1 doubles pairing of David Galic and Jordan Rux sporting a 4-0 mark. In singles' play junior Denes Lukacs has recorded a perfect 4-0 record while playing at the No. 1 position. Baylor will travel to Lubbock to face No. 35 Texas Tech on April 14 at 6 p.m., before hosting Oklahoma State to close out Big 12 play on April 19.
"We try not to over do the Big 12," Knoll said. "It is just another match. We are trying to build and get better and improve and we have done that. We have absolutely gotten better. We are absolutely improving. As a coach you can't look at this match and jump up and down, because you got blown out at a spot and anytime you get blown out at a spot you know there is work to be done."