OU Sooners Runner-Up in NCAA Tennis for Second Straight Season

The No. 1-ranked team in NCAA Division I tennis, the OU Sooners, settled for the runner-up spot in the national championship for a second straight year, dropping a 4-1 match to this year’s national title holder, Virginia.

Tuesday’s championship final in NCAA tennis brought an improbable ending to what, just 24 hours earlier, looked like a good bet to be a Big 12 celebration. After all, three of the final four teams battling for the national crown in tennis were representing the Big 12. Virginia were the odd man out among the final four, and the Cavaliers had their own sights set on the final prize.

Another factor weighing in the Big 12’s favor was that the top two seeds in this year’s NCAA Championship Tournament were owned by Oklahoma and Baylor, respectively. It wasn’t as if Virginia didn’t have a championship pedigree of its own, however. The Cavaliers were the national champions two years ago in the 2013 season.

Additionally, Virginia’s three losses during the season were to Oklahoma and Baylor, which had defeated the No. 3-ranked Cavaliers twice this season.

But this was another time and another place. Virginia advanced to the championship final by avenging its two earlier defeats at the hand of the No, 2 Baylor Bears with a 4-2 victory in its semifinal match. That set up the championship final against the Sooners, who had advanced to Tuesday’s final with a 4-3 victory over fellow Big 12 school TCU, which came into this year’s NCAA Tournament as the No. 5 overall seed.

The Cavaliers jumped on the Sooners early, taking all three doubles matches to win the doubles point before the singles matches began. Virginia continued its tidal wave, capturing all but one of the singles matches, to hand top-seeded OU its worst defeat of the season. Freshman Spencer Papa won the Sooners’ only point in the six singles matches with a 6-3, 6-2 victory in straight sets.

So for the second straight year, the Sooners come up just short, finishing second in the national championship final in men’s tennis. A year ago, Oklahoma fell to top-ranked USC in the national championship match.

Oklahoma head coach John Roddick acknowledged that his team lost to a very good college team, and had no reason to hang their heads after an outstanding season. OU’s 29 wins in 2015 is a program record.

“They (Virginia) played a better match,” Roddick said in an article posted on the Oklahoma athletic website. “We definitely had our chances, but they played a great doubles point against us and they were deserving this week.

“It’s nothing our guys did wrong. I give Virginia all the credit in the world, and they are much deserving national champions.”