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Match Preview: Men's Tennis vs. Oklahoma

March 17, 2001

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#25 Baylor (6-4, 3-0) vs. Oklahoma (1-3, 0-1)
Sunday, March 18, 2001, 1 p.m. , Waco, Texas

The 25th-ranked Baylor men's tennis team will look to stop their two-match skid and return to their winning ways Sunday as the Bears host Oklahoma at 1 p.m.

The Baylor men saw their 22-match home winning streak come to an end Thursday against Duke, but the Bears still hold a tremendous 39-11 edge at home under head coach Matt Knoll.

Oklahoma comes to Waco at 1-3 overall, 0-1 in the Big 12. The Sooners lost their conference opener Saturday to Texas Tech in Lubbock, 6-1.

Last season, the Bears beat Oklahoma in Norman, 6-1. That victory clinched a tie for the Big 12 title and was followed by a Baylor win over Oklahoma State two days later to seal the conference championship. The Bears are 4-1 against the Sooners since the creation of the Big 12. The lone loss came in 1997, Baylor has won four in a row over Oklahoma since then.

In case of rain Sunday, the match will be moved one hour north of Waco to indoor courts in Ennis, Texas.

A Little Home Cooking Goes A Long Way
Since moving to the Streich Courts for good prior to the 1996-1997 season, the Bears are 39-11 at home. The Bears saw a 22-match home win streak come to an end with a 7-0 loss to then-No. 3 Duke (3/15). Before that, the Bears' last loss at home came April 17, 1998, when the Bears lost to Texas A&M in the final match of the regular season. Between April 16, 1999, and March 10, 2001, the Baylor men's and women's tennis teams won a combined 34 straight matches at home (16 by the men, 18 by the women).

Big 12 = Big Success
Baylor has won 18 of its last 19 regular season matches against Big 12 opponents, including an active streak of 12 straight. The Bears' last defeat by a conference opponent was a a 4-3 loss April 22, 2000, on the road against then-No. 7 Texas.

Baylor in the Rankings
The Baylor men's and women's tennis teams have both ranked in the top 25 for the past 53 weeks, dating to March 15, 2000, when the Baylor women moved up to No. 18.

The Bears' current No. 25 ranking is the team's lowest at any point since Baylor finished the 1998 season ranked 26th in the nation.

Senior Mark Williams earned his first-ever career singles ranking in September (No. 68), and freshman Reiner Neurohr earned his first career singles ranking in December (No. 91).

The doubles team of Neurohr and Williams earned a ranking of No. 20 before even playing a match together. The pair moved as high as No. 4 in the nation(Dec. 2000).

(Facing) Simply the Best
The Bears have 12 teams on their 2001 spring schedule which qualified for the 2000 NCAA Tournament and nine teams that began the spring ranked among the top 25.

Since entering the top 25 in Dec. 1998, Baylor is 17-12 against other top-25 teams. All four of the Bears' losses this season have come against top-20 teams. Baylor has only lost once to a team not ranked among the top 20 since the start of the 1999 season.

The Bears are 27-2 against unranked teams under head coach Matt Knoll.

Double(s) Trouble
Baylor is a perfect 6-0 this season when winning the doubles point, but the team is 0-4 when the opponent takes the first point. The Bears have swept doubles four times and won all four matches.

Head Coach Matt Knoll
Knoll is 87-50 in his sixth season, 79-34 at Baylor (in his fifth season)... His 75th win at Baylor came on the road against Tulane (2/11)... Knoll was named to the Region VI Advisory Committee for the 2001 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships.

Climbing the Ladder
Several current Baylor players are making their way up the career leader charts:
* Csongor Bibza ranks fifth in school history in career singles wins (44) and sixth in career doubles wins (66), two behind fifth-place Johannes Michalsky.
* Mark Williams ranks second in the Baylor record books in career singles wins (84), 10 behind record-holder Johann Jooste. Williams already holds the career record for doubles wins (89).

Preseason Honors
The Baylor men earned two singles nominations and one doubles selection on the preseason all-Big 12 team. Senior all-American Mark Williams and 2000 Big 12 Freshman of the Year Zoltan Papp were named to the singles all-conference team, while the team of Williams and freshman Reiner Neurohr represented Baylor on the doubles listing.

Injury Troubles
The Bears lost 2000 Big 12 Freshman of the Year Zoltan Papp to an ACL tear suffered during the summer which forced him to miss the entire fall season.

Senior Mark Williams suffered an abdominal injury against Mississippi State (1/27) which forced him to miss one match and continues to bother him.

Zoltan Papp won his first five singles matches and his first six doubles matches of the spring after returning from injury.

Freshman Matias Marin won his first seven singles matches to begin his collegiate career before losing to Duke's Joel Spicher (3/15). The seven-match streak is the team's longest this season.

The doubles team of Csongor Bibza and Cory Ross has compiled won five in a row, lost once, then won their next six in a row. The six-match streak is the team's longest doubles streak this season.



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