Weekend games bring first loss of season

The men’s tennis team split its two games over the weekend, ending its undefeated streak with a loss to Oklahoma State on Sunday.

The Horned Frogs stretched their perfect season to nine games before falling 4-3 to the No. 15 Cowboys.

Before it was broken, the weekend also featured a streak-extending sweep of the University of Minnesota, which TCU beat 7-0 on Saturday.

Following the loss to Oklahoma State, freshman Zach Nichols said the team’s confidence remains high.

“This match showed that we can hang with a top team,” he said. “We were one point away from winning the match and that only helps our confidence.”

Nichols has been perfect this season in both doubles and singles, and wins Saturday and Sunday improved his record to a combined 20-0.

He said the team’s head coach, Dave Borelli, has helped him out many times this year, trying to keep Nichols and the rest of the players on the team loose and preventing them from becoming flustered.

“If you’re not playing well, he will tell you to calm down and slow up the match,” Nichols said. “He will give you tips here and there that you might not have noticed in a match, and sometimes he will crack a few jokes to help you relax.”

Against Oklahoma State, senior Cosmin Cotet, Nichols and junior Kreigler Brink were able to win their individual matches, but losing the doubles portion of the match proved to be the overall difference.

Borelli said he was proud of the way the team played and acknowledged the skill of Oklahoma State’s squad.

“You have to be a good team to beat us,” Borelli said. “And a good team beat us today.”

He said the team’s loss didn’t come without positives.

Cotet and Brink were beaten in their doubles match, but Cotet came back to beat 10th-ranked Oleksandr Nedovyesov in the battle of No. 1-seeded players. The match went to a tiebreaker where Cotet came up with huge volleys to secure the victory.

Cotet said beating one of the top players was huge because he played Nedovyesov last year, losing in straight sets.

Even with the loss, Borelli said, his team refused to give up and praised the effort of Cotet. He said the team should win its share of matches with the way it played.

“I think it’s going to take a little pressure off Cosmin because he’s always wanting to prove that he can beat these guys,” Borelli said. “But I told the team, we’ll get it down the stretch. We’ll win a few of these matches.”

The team hosts its next match against the University of Oklahoma at 6 p.m. March 6.