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MT Opens Big 12 Championships with OSU

Freshman Mate Zsiga will lead the Bears vs. OSU on Friday.

April 25, 2012

#28 Baylor (15-10) vs. Oklahoma State (7-13)
Friday, April 27, 2012 at 9 a.m. (CDT)
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
College Station, Texas

The third-seeded Baylor men's tennis team travels to College Station, Texas, for the Big 12 Tennis Championships, hosted by the Texas A&M Aggies at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center, April 27 - 29.

The Bears, currently ranked No. 28, will take on the tournament's No. 6 seed, Oklahoma State, in quarterfinal action on Friday, April 27 at 9 a.m.

Head coach Matt Knoll's Bears are led on the season by freshman Mate Zsiga. The 16th-ranked Zsiga owns the team's top record at 33-5 on the season and 19-2 in dual match play. He is 13-5 vs. nationally ranked opponents which includes wins over fifth-ranked Eric Quigley of Kentucky and Oklahoma's 11th-ranked Costin Paval.

BAYLOR IN BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY: The Bears have produced a 28-8 (.778) record overall in Big 12 Championships play. Baylor has been at the top of the championship podium three years out of the last five years and also earned four straight titles from 2002-05.

LAST YEAR AT BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP: The fifth-ranked Bears entered the 2011 Big 12 Championships in Waco as the No. 1 seed, however, Oklahoma ended the Bears' shot at a fourth straight championship title with a 4-3 win in the semifinal round.

WHEN BEING THE NO. 3 SEED: This year's Championship will mark just the fourth time the Bears have been seeded third or lower at the event. The Bears were also the No. 3 seed in 2010. Baylor has been the tournament's No. 1 seed on nine occasions, No. 2 three times, No. 3 twice, and No. 4 and No. 8 once each, 1998 and 1997, respectively.

SINGLES STREAKS & TRENDS: Freshman Mate Zsiga owns the Bears' longest current win streak at five matches. The 16th-ranked Zsiga has won 14 of his last 15 matches, that lone loss coming to Texas Tech's Gonzalo Escobar, and 20 of his last 22 completed matches. Senior Julian Bley owns the team's next longest win streak at three matches. Bley has posted an 11-2 mark over his last 13 matches.



THE ALL-IMPORTANT DOUBLES POINT: In its 25 matches this spring Baylor has won the doubles point 16 times and lost it nine times. Baylor is 14-2 on the season when winning doubles and 5-0 when sweeping doubles. The Bears' two losses when claiming doubles came vs. No. 9 Stanford (4-2) and No. 16 Auburn (4-1) in the National Team Indoor Tournament in Charlottesville, Va. Baylor is on an 11-match win streak when winning doubles. On the other hand, the Bears are 1-8 when losing the doubles point. The lone victory came at UT-Arlington when, after losing doubles, the Bears swept all six singles matches to claim a 6-1 win.

TEAM STREAKS & TRENDS: All of Baylor's losses this season have come against ranked opponents, six of which have come vs. Top 15 foes.

LOOKING AHEAD: With a victory over OSU, Baylor would advance to the semifinals and face top-seeded and 11th-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday, April 28 at 11 a.m.

RANKED BEARS: In the latest ITA team rankings released on April 24, Baylor is ranked No. 28, dropping one spot from last week's No. 27. Individually, Baylor has two singles players ranked in the ITA top-125 as freshman Mate Zsiga remained at No. 16 with a 19-2 record in dual-match play, while junior Roberto Maytin comes in at No. 100 with an 11-9 dual match record. The Bears have three doubles team listed in the rankings with Maytin and senior Kike Grangeiro playing together to be ranked No. 59, after posting a 4-3 record. Zsiga and freshman Diego Galeano, who are 5-3 on the season and have only been partnered together since March 19, are ranked No. 74 and Zsiga and Maytin are ranked No. 70 with a 9-4 dual match record.

SCOUTING OKLAHOMA STATE: Oklahoma State enters the Big 12 Championships as the No.6 seed with an 0-5 league record and a 7-13 season mark. The Cowboys are led by 104th-ranked Vlad Bondarenko. He is 7-8 in dual match action, all at the No. 1 spot. Senior Eric West and freshman Chris Haworth led the team in singles victories, with West closing out the regular season with a 13-4 record and Haworth going 13-6. The 2012 season also marks the final campaign for coach James Wadley, who will retire at season's end after 40 years at the helm of the program.

SCOUTING OKLAHOMA: For the first time in program history the Sooners claimed the Big 12 regular season title. The 12th-ranked Oklahoma squad enters Big 12 tournament play at 16-3 overall and 5-0 in Big 12 play. record. Oklahoma has three singles players ranked in the top 125 and are led by 14th-ranked Costin Paval who boasts a 14-3 record. In doubles, he and freshman sensation Dane Webb comprise the No. 11 tandem and claim a 15-3 record.

SERIES HISTORY: Baylor leads the series with Oklahoma State, 20-8 and owns a 18-16 mark vs. Oklahoma. In Big 12 Championship play, the Bears are 5-0 vs. the Cowboys and 4-1 when playing the Sooners.

MORE ON THE BEARS THREE RECOGNIZED ON ACADEMIC ALL BIG 12 SQUAD: Conference officials announced on Tuesday that BU senior Julian Bley and sophomore Robert Verzaal were honored as Academic All-Big 12 first-team selections, while sophomore Roberto Maytin was a second-team selection. Bley is now a three-time first team selection, becoming just the fifth Bear to accomplish the feat. Maytin was selected to the second team for the second straight season.

To qualify student-athletes must maintain a 3.00 GPA or higher either cumulative or for the two previous semesters and must have participated in 60 percent of their team's scheduled contests.

ZSIGA EARNS TWO BIG 12 POW SELECTIONS: Freshman Mate Zsiga has been named the Big 12 men's tennis player of the week two straight weeks, from play during the periods of April 2-8 and April 9-15.

The honor marks the first career award for Zsiga, he is the first male freshman to win the award since Texas' Kellen Damico took the honor on March 31, 2008. Zsiga helped 32nd-ranked Baylor upset No. 15 Texas, 5-2. He posted a straight-set win at No. 1 singles over 64th-ranked Soren Hess-Olesen, and teamed with freshman Diego Galeano upset of 27th-ranked Chris Camillone and David Holiner, 8-3.

Zsiga is the first Big 12 men's freshman to be honored in back-to-back weeks since Baylor's Benjamin Becker accomplished the feat during the weeks of March 18 and 25, 2002. He is the sixth Bear to earn two or more awards in a single season. Baylor's John Peers was the school's last back-to-back winner in 2011.

From April 9-15, Zsiga posted singles victories over three ranked players. The 23rd-ranked freshman first took down No. 92 Japie De Klerk (Tulsa), then upset 11th-ranked Costin Paval (Oklahoma), and finally knocked off No. 100 Vlad Bondarenko (Oklahoma State).Zsiga and Galeano, downed OSU's Rifat Biktyakov and Bondarenko, 8-4. The 67th-ranked tandem narrowly missed upsetting the nation's No. 6 and 8 ranked doubles teams. Zsiga and Galeano took Tulsa's sixth-ranked Clifford Marsland and Ashley Watling to a tiebreak, but fell 9-8 (13-11) and lost to OU's eighth-ranked duo of Paval and Dane Webb, 8-6.

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