Texas falls short in Stillwater

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Oklahoma State players formed a dogpile on the court in front of their home crowd as Texas walked off in disappointment Sunday, falling just short of a comeback.

The No. 6 Longhorns (18-5) entered Stillwater fresh off a road win over No. 13 Oklahoma on Friday. But Texas quickly found itself in survival mode as the Cowboys sprinted out to a 3-0 lead, claiming the doubles point and winning the first two singles matches.

“They got out on top of us,” head coach Michael Center said. “Part of that was because we didn’t play well in a couple of spots, but I thought Oklahoma State was pretty good today. I need to give them credit as well.”

The Longhorns weathered the frenzied blitz and countered with an attack of their own. Sophomore Leonardo Telles gave Texas its first point of the day with a 7-5, 6-1 thrashing of Oklahoma State’s Lukas Finzelberg.

The win seemed to lift a burden off the Longhorns’ shoulders as they returned to their free-flowing style of play. Chants of “Texas Fight” began to rain in from the burnt orange sideline as momentum shifted in Texas’ favor.

Senior George Goldhoff fed off the surrounding energy, blowing out Oklahoma State’s Artur Dubinski in the third set for a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 win that made it a 3-2 score.

The team then shifted its focus to court No. 6 as sophomore Rodrigo Banzer clawed his way back into his match with Tristan Meraut. After a 6-1 loss in the first set, Banzer rallied to win the second set, 7-6.

But the slow start proved to be too much to overcome as Meraut ended the Longhorns’ comeback bid with a 6-1, 6-7, 6-3 victory over Banzer.

“This was a great college tennis match,” Center said. “I was proud of the way the guys hung in there to give ourselves a chance, but we just got too far behind.”

The 4-2 loss snapped Texas’ five-game winning streak. Conference play continues for Texas as it hosts No. 4 Baylor on April 12 at Caswell Tennis Center. 

“Every Big 12 match is such a struggle and such a battle,” Center said. “It makes a huge difference to play in front of a big crowd, and I hope to see the stands against Baylor.”