No. 22 Texas Tech Drops No. 15 Texas, 4-3
Senior Gonzalo Escobar celebrates the deciding match point that secures a 4-3 win over No. 15 Texas.
April 21, 2012
LUBBOCK, Texas - It was Senior Night at the McLeod Tennis Center Saturday and it took a machine-like effort from Texas Tech's all-time winningest player to pull off the seemingly improbable.
But on Saturday night the improbable was possible, as No. 22 Texas Tech (15-7, 4-1 Big 12) notched the stunning upset of No. 15 Texas (15-8, 2-3 Big 12), 4-3, to take sole possession of second place in the Big 12 Conference men's tennis standings in front of 1,047 fans at the McLeod Tennis Center. It was the first win over the Longhorns since 2008.
"This is probably the greatest win of my 20 years as head coach at Texas Tech," said Red Raider head coach Tim Siegel. "It is so gratifying to look over there and see those guys and know that they are a team - we are a team. I could not be prouder of how we played.
"I also could not be more thankful to the more than 1,000 fans who showed up for the match tonight. That is so special and it meant so much to our team."
With the team score tied, 3-3, it came down to No. 47 Gonzalo Escobar of Texas Tech, who was in a battle at No. 2 singles with No. 100 Daniel Whitehead of Texas. The first set was seemingly all Escobar, as he manufactured a 6-3 win, but Whitehead would not go away. The Texas junior answered with a 6-4 win in the second set.
"I was really hoping to finish and cheer V (Vitor Manzini) on, but it did not work out that way," said Escobar. "I knew I could not let my teammates down or Texas Tech."
The third set saw Escobar jump out early, 3-1, but Whitehead answered. The two traded points until it was 6-6 and the tiebreaker ensued. Whitehead led 3-1 in the tiebreaker, but this time it was Escobar who charged back to take a 6-5 lead. Whitehead tied it at 6-6 before Escobar pulled out the set, the match and the victory for the Red Raiders.
The victory was set up by Manzini's crucial win at No. 4 singles, where he battled back from a first-set deficit to defeat David Holiner, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. The win tied the team score at 3-3, setting up Escobar's heroics.
"I think Vitor battled through some adversity when things were not going his way," added Siegel. "We tell them to let the coaches deal with the officials, but with the level of intensity on the court it was kind of hard tonight."
The night started with a highly-contested doubles point. The No. 29 Tech duo of Escobar and Raony Carvalho battled early with UT's No. 30 tandem of Chris Camillone and David Holiner, before upending the pair, 8-5.
The point would be decided at No. 2 and a tiebreaker was needed. Ben Chen and Daniel Whitehead just bested Rafael Garcia and Manzini, 9-8 (7-5) to give Texas the first point of the night.
No. 73 Carvalho answered for Tech, as he fed off the crowd and ousted No. 69 Hess-Olesen, 6-4, 6-4.
"I really fed off the energy of the crowd tonight," said Carvalho. "I will remember this moment forever. This was my Senior Night. It was special."
The two schools then traded points, as Texas won No. 3 when Sudanwa Sitaram topped Garcia, 7-6, 7-1, 6-2 and Tech's Francisco Zambron rolled Lloyd Glasspool, 7-5, 6-2 at No. 6, making it 2-2.
Texas' Ben Chen battled back to defeated Wanderley, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, to give the Longhorns a 3-2 lead and set up Manzini and Escobar's match-clenching dramatic ending.
Texas Tech has now defeated Texas A&M, Baylor and Texas in the same season for the first time in program history. It has secured second place in the Big 12 Conference and earned a first round bye in the Big 12 Championships next weekend in College Station.
#22 Texas Tech 4, #15 Texas 3