Men’s tennis team to face Rice before start of MWC play

The men’s tennis team concludes a four-match homestand against Rice on Sunday at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center.

TCU returns to action after falling to then-No. 25 Oklahoma in a 7-0 shutout last weekend.

Although the Horned Frogs were swept by the Sooners, three players fought to a third-set tiebreaker in singles play. Freshman Facundo Lugones and seniors Paul Chappell and Daniel Sanchez competed to the very end of their matches.

“I thought we did a good job during Spring Break to prepare for Oklahoma,” head coach David Roditi said. “I liked the way we competed against Oklahoma. They’re just better than us right now.” 

The Frogs were going to focus on getting better and working hard to be prepared to win the Mountain West Conference, he said.

TCU is the only team in the Mountain West that has not yet played a conference match this season. The Frogs will begin Mountain West play on the road next Friday against UNLV.

“Everything we do is to get us prepared for conference,” Roditi said. “The way we’re viewing this match is that it’s our last match before we start conference play. We’ll use this match to continue to learn more about ourselves and be ready to win conference.”

Freshman Blake Wiggins said he thought the team was prepared for the matchup against Rice.

“We’ve put in a week of tough practice,” Wiggins said. “We’ve been getting in the gym and doing lots of running, but I think we’re physically prepared from practices and mentally prepared.”

Wiggins has worked on his fitness to prepare for the heat and length of matches, he said. Practices have been crucial for the team’s preparedness for the upcoming match against the Owls.

“Mentally, we just have to focus as much and as intense as possible throughout practice,” Wiggins said. “You can’t let anything fly; you just have to stay focused no matter what happens.”

TCU has a 5-10 overall record while Rice has a 13-5 overall record.

Rice is on a five-match winning streak as it enters a weekend of Dallas-Fort Worth competition. The team has only three underclassmen on its 10-man roster.

“They have a very solid team. I don’t think their No. 1 guy is a superstar, but who ever plays No. 6 for them is going to be almost, if not just as good as, No. 1,” Roditi said. “They’re a very equal team No. 1 to No. 6.”

The Owls are led by head coach Ron Smarr, who is coaching his 15th season with the program and who is the winningest coach in men’s college tennis. Smarr plans to retire at the end of this season.

Last season, the Frogs dropped a close match to the Owls 4-3 on the road.

“We remember that, and we would like to change that. It’s good to expect for a tough match and expect for it to come down to the last match,” Roditi said. “We expect a clean, fair match, and it will be great to have coach Smarr here for his last time at TCU.”

TCU vs. Rice
1 p.m. Sunday
Where: Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center