LAWRENCE, KS – Winds that neared 20 mph and a feisty Cowboy squad got the best of the Horned Frogs in Lawrence, Kansas, as they fell 2-4 in the first round of the Big 12 tournament.
For the first time in four years, No. 7 TCU (19-6) will head back to Fort Worth with no new Big 12 hardware. The loss to No. 32 Oklahoma State (15-10) marks their third conference loss of the season, the second-most in a season in TCU’s Big 12 tenure.
Doubles caught by surprise
Despite two top-20 doubles teams, the Frogs were swept in doubles for the fifth time this season. They now hold a 2-3 overall record when swept in doubles.
The No. 2 doubles team of No. 15 Reese Stalder/Bertus Kruger had their worst loss of the year, falling 1-6. They finished the season 2-3 with one unfinished match against Big 12 competition on the year.
Luc Fomba and Sander Jong held their own at the No. 3 position, but could not finish the job, falling in a nail-biting 6-7 (5-7) loss.
The No. 1 team of Alex Rybakov/Alastair Gray, ranked No. 13 nationally, were up in a tiebreaker 6-6 (4-2) when the doubles point was called.
Late comeback can’t slow Pokes down
Singles began in a
Despite the early sucker punch, TCU regained their footing and responded with an inverse 5-1 record in second sets.
The only Frog to fall in the first two sets was No. 110 Stalder, who fell 3-6, 2-6. This loss sets his overall season record at 17-10 and his Big 12 record at 3-4.
For the second time in the last two weeks, Kruger provided a big win at the No. 4 singles position, this time winning 6-4, 7-6 (1-0). His season record now stands at 14-8, 3-4 in Big 12 play.
Jong followed up with another victory (3-6, 6-3, 6-2) on court six, tying the match up at two apiece. His current four-match win streak is the best on the team. Jong’s season record is 11-7, 4-2 in Big 12 play.
No. 3 Rybakov faced off against No. 48 Matej
Rybakov’s loss would set his final record at 15-3, 5-2 in Big 12 play.
With only one more win to clinch, Oklahoma State went for the knockout punch on court five, defeating Fomba 4-6, 6-3, 4-6.
The loss sealed TCU’s winless conference tournament run for the second consecutive year after they swept the tournament back-to-back years in 2016 and 2017.
Frogs’ NCAA hopes still alive
Despite the loss, TCU is in no way out of NCAA consideration. They sit at 19-6 on the year, including 12 ranked wins. The Frogs also finished third in the Big 12 in the regular season.
TCU has made the Sweet 16 or Elite 8 rounds in all of their last four consecutive postseason appearances.
The Frogs await their postseason fate in the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Selection Show which will air at 6 p.m. Monday, April 29. If selected this will mark the 31st all-time appearance in the Frog’s 45-season tenure.