No. 42 Texas Tech Men’s Tennis Blows 3-1 Lead to No. 22 MTSU Thanks to Heroics from Rocha
By: Jordan Binkley
MTN Sports Reporter
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — No. 22 Middle Tennessee men's tennis (21-3) wins 4-3 in a tightly contested game over No. 42 Texas Tech (12-7) in their first outdoor match at the Adam's Tennis Complex.
"Two and a half hours of setting courts up is not my favorite thing to do, but we needed to play outside, and Texas Tech is better outside, and I am happy we got the W," coach Jimmy Borendame said. "We actually had a great crowd. This was probably one of our biggest crowds for an outdoor match."
In what is shaping up to be one of the Blue Raiders' best seasons in program history, the Blue Raiders secured their seventh-ranked win of the season Friday night against the Red Raiders. If MTSU wins their last three regular-season games, they will tie the school's previous record for wins in a year held since 1979.
Friday's victory also extends the Blue Raider's winning streak to 15. The Blue Raiders have not lost a game since February 6 against Notre Dame.
Off to a strong start, MTSU gained the advantage by winning their doubles matchups against Texas Tech. Stephan Hollis and Chris Edge got the ball rolling on court No. 3, winning 6-4 in the first doubles match of the night.
On court No. 2, Stijn Slump and Pavel Motl secured the doubles victory after finishing 6-4.
The Blue Raider's momentum began to fade once singles play took place. Texas Tech got the jump defeating Holis, Motl, and Edge to gain a 3-1 lead over MTSU.
Down but not defeated, the Blue Raiders bounced back after Oskar Brostrom Poulsen bested Franco Ribero 7-6, 6-3 to cut the Red Raider's lead down to one.
On court No. 1, Slump tied the score 3-3 after winning a pair of 7-5 sets over Isaac Arevalo. Slump even channeled his inner Roger Federer during the second set, scoring off a backward-facing through the legs shot.
In the final match, the capeless hero of the night, Francisco Rocha, defeated Reed Collier 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 to give MTSU the fairytale victory.
"Matches like this are why I play tennis," said Rocha. "It is just special because I love competing for these guys. I am grateful to have the opportunity to play on this team and to win for this team. It is just surreal, and I am still at a loss for words."
After a two-week hiatus, the No. 22 Blue Raiders' next game will take place on April 8 at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. in a doubleheader against No. 31 Memphis and Alabama A&M.