Red Raiders Face Cowboys On Friday|
Hugo Dojas looks to lead Texas Tech at the Big 12 Championships.
April 23, 2014
LUBBOCK, Texas - For 22 seasons, Tim Siegel has prepared his teams with the goal of postseason play.
In 13 of the previous 21 seasons, including seven of the last nine, Siegel's Texas Tech men's tennis team has advanced to the NCAA Championships.
This year, the dean of Texas Tech coaches feels like he is a bubble team.
"You do not know what could happen," said Siegel. "We feel like we are in the tournament, but you never know. We just know that with one more ranked win, we can secure a spot for sure."
Prior to his arrival in 1992, no Texas Tech team had ever advanced to the NCAA Championships in tennis - men or women. In his second season at the helm, Siegel's Red Raiders advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
The talk will all go the wayside if the Red Raiders pull off the mild upset on Friday against No. 27 Oklahoma State, a team the No. 35 Red Raiders defeated 5-2 in Stillwater on Apr. 11.
"You never want to look to far ahead and I prefer to not look past the next opponent and right now that is Oklahoma State," added Siegel.
After starting this year at just 5-5, the Red Raiders have rebounded to win eight of its next 12, including going 4-4 against ranked teams during that span.
"I think we have gotten a lot better in doubles," said Siegel. "We have tried several combinations this season, but I feel like we are at a place where we are comfortable with our doubles situation. The key for us against Oklahoma State is getting the doubles point. We did not come out the way I wanted against them last time and gave the point away. We cannot do that again."
Texas Tech has only won the doubles point in eight of 18 matches this season. The Red Raiders went 0-5 in the doubles point in Big 12 Conference play.
Soares vaulted into the Top 64 after upending then-No. 49 Nick Chappell. Soares is a school-best 21-10 overall and 13-8 in dual matches this season. He is also 6-8 this season against players ranked in the ITA Top 125.
Dojas has been a steady producer for the Red Raiders all season. He is currently 18-12 overall and 12-8 in dual matches, but more importantly, he is 7-3 in his last 10 matches.
Zambon has made the jump this season from No. 5 to No. 3 and has weathered the transition. He is 13-14 overall and 8-11 in dual matches.
Hinnisdaels is one of three freshmen in the lineup. He has rotated between four and five with fellow freshman Johann Willems. Hinnisdaels is 15-12 overall, while Willems is 9-2. With Willems at No. 4 and Hinnisdaels at No. 5, the Red Raiders have had the most success. Willems is 7-5 at No. 4, while Hinnisdaels is 8-2 at No. 5.
Bring up the No. 6 spot is Cailleau, who has gone 18-8 this season and 12-6 in dual matches. He is an impressive 12-5 at No. 6 and has won seven of his last 10 matches.
Siegel has tinkered with the doubles lineup quite a bit, looking for that combination that could propel the Red Raiders into the post season. Since January, Texas Tech has used eight different tandems in dual matches.
The Red Raiders finished the regular season at 13-9 overall and 1-4 in Big 12. The Texas Tech men are in search of their 13th overall NCAA Championship appearance. The Red Raiders will face fifth-seeded Oklahoma State on Friday at 9 a.m. With a win, the Red Raiders would advance to face top-seeded Baylor on Saturday at noon.