April 17, 2009
Waco, TX- The fifth-ranked Baylor men's tennis team will look to make a clean sweep through its Big 12 regular season schedule when the Bears face No. 24 Oklahoma State on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Baylor Tennis Center.
"It is important to win always, but certainly this time of the year we take a lot of pride in playing our best tennis and continuing to develop," Baylor head coach Matt Knoll said. "They are giving out some trophies now towards the end of the year and we would like to play well enough to hopefully get a few of them."
The Bears are 20-5 overall, 5-0 in Big 12 play and have also won 14 of their last 16 matches overall. Baylor is 15-1 at the Baylor Tennis Center this season and on a six-match win in Waco. Currently, Baylor is on a nine-match win streak, overall.
This is the eighth straight season the Bears have recorded at least 20 wins and the 10th time they have accomplished the feat during Matt Knoll's 13 years at Baylor. Before Knoll took over Baylor had never won more than 12 matches in a season.
The Bears will be trying to go undefeated in Big 12 regular season play for the seventh time in the 13 years of the conference's existence. Baylor was also unbeaten in conference play in 2000, 2002-05 and 2007.
In their last match out the Bears blanked No. 34 Texas Tech, 7-0 on Tuesday in Lubbock. It was the 15th straight win for Baylor over the Red Raiders and it clinched a share of the Big 12 regular season title for the Bears.
The Bears have now won nine of the last 10 Big 12 Conference regular season titles, including eight straight. The Bears are 81-13 in 12-plus seasons of Big 12 play and over the past seven-plus seasons, Baylor has posted a 50-2 league record.
In doubles' play this season the Bears have a 43-29 record in dual match competition. In their last match the Bears went with the duo of David Galic and Jordan Rux at No. 1 doubles. The pair is ranked 28th in the country and is 10-4, after winning 10 of its last 11 matches. At No. 2 doubles freshman Maros Horny and junior Denes Lukacs have partnered together for a 10-6 record this spring. In No. 3 doubles, Julian Bley and Dominik Mueller have posted an 8-4 record
In singles, ITA All-American and seventh-ranked Lukacs has led the Bears to a 101-43 mark in dual match competition. The junior is 18-3 and riding a 12-match win streak with all of his matches coming at the No. 1 singles slot. At the No. 2 singles position 44th-ranked Rux has a 13-8 record. In the last three matches Mueller, a junior, has played at the No. 3 spot, and has a 16-6 record this spring. At the fourth slot junior Attila Bucko is 14-7. In the last two matches freshman Bley has at the No. 5 position in the Bears line-up after sitting out three matches. He has won six of his last seven contests and is 12-7 overall. At No. 6, Horny is 18-5 on the season and has won eight of his last nine matches.
"We have got some guys that are starting to hit their stride and hopefully we can continue to have guys improving, playing better and better," Knoll said. "That is really the key: to embrace the process and continue to play better."
In Big 12 play so far this season Baylor is 5-0, after cruising by No. 48 Oklahoma, 6-1 on March 4 in Waco, dominating No. 11 Texas, 6-1, in Austin on April 2, edging Nebraska, 4-3, in Lincoln on April 4, and taking out Texas A&M, 5-2 on April 8, before downing Tech. Baylor has won the doubles point in all five of those matches with its No. 1 doubles pairing of Galic and Rux sporting a 5-0 mark. In singles' play Lukacs has recorded a perfect 5-0 record while playing at the No. 1 position. Baylor will close out conference play by hosting Oklahoma State on April 19. The Bears are also the only unbeaten team remaining in Big 12 conference action with one match left.
The 24th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys currently have a 12-5 record, 2-2 in Big 12 play and a five-match win streak. It is the second longest winning streak of the season for the Cowboys, who recorded six victories in a row earlier in the year. The Cowboys will first travel to Lubbock to face the 34th-ranked Red Raiders on Friday night, before heading to Waco for Sunday's match.
Baylor is 15-8 all-time versus Oklahoma State, but the Bears have won 15 of the last 16 contests between the two schools. Last season the Bears were 2-1 against the Cowboys. In the first meeting the Bears fell to No. 21 Oklahoma State 4-2 on Feb. 15 at the National Team Indoor Indoor Championships in Seattle. The Bears went on to beat the No. 19 Cowboys in Stillwater in Big 12 regular season play, 6-1, on April 12. Then in the Big 12 Tournament the Bears took out Oklahoma State, 4-1, on April 26 in College Station.
"We have had a lot of great matches with them over the years," Knoll said. "We know they are going to come in with nothing to lose and really going for their shots."
In its last match out Oklahoma State squeaked past No. 34 Oklahoma, 4-3 on April 11 in Norman. This year in Big 12 play the Cowboys have lost to Texas and Texas A&M and then defeated Nebraska and Oklahoma.
The Cowboys are led by junior Oleksandr Nedovyesov who is the second-ranked singles player in the country. He has posted a 14-2 record in singles matches, including a 4-0 mark in Big 12 matches. Nedovyesov has played all of his matches at the No. 1 position this spring. Nedovyesov won 12 straight matches before falling to top-ranked Arnau Brugues of Tulsa on April 9.
"Nedovyesov has been No. 1 in the country for a fair amount of this year in the rankings and he is clearly one of the best players in the nation, really talented," Knoll said. "That will be a great test for Denes (Lukacs). That is a match both teams have consistently won, so the team that can get that one is definitely going to get a lot of momentum."
The Cowboys also have the 17th-ranked doubles team with the pairing of Nedovyesov and senior Nathan Byrnes. The duo is 10-3 this spring, including a 3-1 record in Big 12 matches. They have played all their matches together at the No. 1 slot.
The Bears will also be celebrating Senior Day on Sunday by honoring John Arvesen, David Galic, Justin Luningham and Chase McVicker.
"Clearly, Dave has been an unbelievable guy for Baylor," Knoll said. "It would be fun to have his day be a special day with a huge crowd."
Galic, who has been a part of four straight Big 12 regular season championship teams, enters Sunday's match with 77 career doubles wins which places him 10th on the all-time doubles win list at Baylor. Galic also has 35 singles wins in his four-year career. Arvesen has a 1-1 career record.
"It's tennis season, it's that time of the year where people are hopefully thinking about it," Knoll said. "We are going to clinch an outright Big 12 title with a win and it's Dave's Senior Day and you are going to have in my opinion the two best singles' players in the country playing on court one. Even if you don't necessarily love tennis, I think to see two guys that are likely going to be playing at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open playing on court one is a special day."