Nr. 4 men’s tennis prepares for familiar faces in last home matches

Baylor men’s tennis meet Oklahoma State and OU for their final home games of the season this weekend. Camryn Duffy | Photographer

By AnnaGrace Hale | Sports writer

After a hard loss to now-Nr. 1 Texas Christian University last weekend, No. 4 Baylor men’s tennis looks set to redeem itself as the team meets Oklahoma State University on Friday and the University of Oklahoma on Sunday at their home courts. The weekend will be packed with well-known opponents, unpredictable weather, some goods for Baylor seniors and, if all goes according to Baylor’s plan, two wins for the Bears.

One of those seniors, Sven Lah, said the loss to TCU last weekend was tough, but being in front of the home crowd made it even harder.

“I think it’s more about losing at home, you will never do that. You know, in front of the whole crowd. I definitely think it will help us to the next one. You never want to lose twice at home in a row, Said Lah. “So I think it’s good fuel for the coming matches. It’s a conference [match], it’s getting tough. Some of the guys from Oklahoma State’s team have been here before, so I’m sure they will come here and try to beat us as badly as possible. But I think it goes both ways. Having benefits at home is always good. ”

As the Bears (19-3, 1-1 Big 12) look set to play Oklahoma State on Friday, there will be some familiar faces on the Cowboys’ squad. Junior Alex Garcia and sophomore Joseph Chen swapped their green and gold for orange and black at the end of last season. This weekend, they have to meet some of their former teammates.

“We have some former Baylor Bears, but it’s all heartfelt,” said assistant coach Izak van der Merwe. “Both me and Micheal [Woodson] are very happy for them that they are going to play. Competing against them might be a bit of a challenge, but it’s just something you have to do as a tennis player. Sometimes you have to play against friends… it’s not uncommon and we look forward to it and see how they do. ”

The last time the Bears met the Cowboys was in April 2021, when they won 4-2, and out of their last 10 meetings, Baylor has won seven.

On Sunday, the match against OU will be special as the seniors play in their last home game. After nearly five years with the Baylor tennis program, senior Matias Soto says goodbye.

“Hopefully I will not cry, but it will be difficult,” Soto said. “I think it will be nice too [the] last time at home, but it’s a special day. That’s why my family came. Hopefully I can get everyone involved. It’s going to be an important day for me, senior day. We have been here for so long, almost five years. ”

Soto and the Bears saw Sooners earlier in February when they won in Norman, Okla., 4-3. However, the conditions in Waco will definitely be different from those experienced in the Wadley Indoor Tennis Pavilion. There are some concerns regarding the wind this weekend. However, one of the benefits of playing at home is to practice under those conditions.

“I think we’ve had enough drills where it blows for five minutes and it stops in a way and then the direction changes so I think we’ve gotten used to it,” Lah said.

In agreement with Lah, assistant coach van der Merwe said the wind is more of a mental game than anything else.

“Our guys get a lot of repetitions in the wind, but it still pushes you more mentally than anything else,” van der Merwe said. “We need to spend some time preparing for the wind and preparing mentally, but our boys have done a good job in the past. We have played many matches in tough conditions in the past.”

van der Merwe said in Big 12, if the wind blows for more than an hour above 25 mph, the matches will be moved inside. However, the conditions should not be at that level, and therefore he expects to play outdoors at the weekend.

Regardless of wind conditions, the fights will start with Baylor challenging Oklahoma State at 6 p.m. 6pm on Friday at the Hurd Tennis Center, and the Bears return to their home courts on Sunday to face Oklahoma at 6 p.m. 13.00.

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