Cowboys struggle at home vs. Ole Miss

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Luke Hammond during the singles match as the Cowboys take on Ole Miss in the Michael and Anne Greenwood Tennis Center on February 1, 2019.

Yelling at rackets, not closing sets and senior leadership are the three things that defined the Oklahoma State men’s tennis team’s home loss on Friday.

OSU (4-2) started its match against Ole Miss by losing the doubles point, but then bounced back quickly in the first sets of single matches. While Artur Dubinski and Luke Hammond made quick work of their opponents, Matej Vocel seemed to be off all night.

Vocel and his duo partner Hammond were the only pair to win their doubles match, but while Hammonds’ success carried over into singles, Vocel’s didn’t. Coming off an injury that kept him out for a couple weeks, this first match back was one that should quickly be forgotten.

After going down 4-0, Vocel was visibly frustrated that things weren’t going his way. At this point, he turned to his racket and questioned why it wasn’t working as it should. He had a bag with three other rackets waiting to be used, but he chose to stick it out with the original. Vocel ended up losing in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2.

“The first set he was just trying to get back into the rhythm of things,” Udwadia said. “And the second set he actually hit the ball pretty well and played pretty solid.”

Udwadia also said he thought Vocel lost about three deciding points in his final set which could’ve turned the match around. A 6-2 set loss could’ve easily been turned around to a 5-2 lead for Vocel if he won the close games. This problem was not just Vocel’s, as Udwadia said closing sets was one of his main disappointments from Friday.

While closing sets was upsetting for some of the team, Dubinski was able to close out and win the tiebreaker. While winning 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 Dubinski looked like a seasoned vet by being able to place the ball all over the court, allowing his opponent a slim chance of returning the ball. In the doubles match with Tybar as his partner, the match ultimately didn’t go the way they planned, but Dubinski constantly showed leadership by being engaged and communicating with his partner. Tybar started strong with a 6-4 win, but then followed that with two straight losses, 6-1, 6-2.

Mathieu Scaglia was in a tight one as the first set went to tiebreaker. Finally the back and forth tiebreaker ended with a 13-11 win for Ole Miss and Scaglia never recovered, losing the final set 6-2 and ultimately the match, 4-3.

Scaglia and the Pokes will now travel to Winston-Salem, NC, where they will face No. 1 Wake Forest.

The Cowboys will look to get back in the win column after this missed opportunity by staying positive, not dwelling too much and moving forward.

“It’s a long season, so let’s learn from it and let’s get ready for the No. 1 team in the country on Sunday,” Udwadia said.

sports.ed@ocolly.com