Tulsa Wins Sixth Conference USA Championship

The No. 23-ranked University of Tulsa men’s tennis team defeated No. 33 Memphis 4-0 Monday morning to win the 2012 Conference Championship at the Tennis Complex.

The Golden Hurricane (18-8) won its second-straight title and its sixth in the last seven years. The unprecedented six championships are the most in conference history, breaking a tie with Tulane.

“The guys played their hearts today. I’m so proud of their performance this week,” Tulsa Head Coach Vince Westbrook said. “We battled through a lot of adversity, especially in the match in the quarterfinals. Memphis is a great team and we’re happy we were able to get past them.”

“I’m especially happy for our senior Ashley Watling. He has meant so much to our program over the last four years, and it’s great that he was able to end his career with his third conference championship.”

TU took an opening 1-0 lead over Memphis (19-5) after winning a well-contested doubles point. Sophomore Japie De Klerk and freshman Alejandro Espejo jumped out to a 5-0 advantage and held on for the 8-4 victory on the third court over Leon Nasemann and Johnny Grimal.

The No. 9-ranked duo of Watling and junior Clifford Marsland were able to gut out a 9-7 triumph over David O’Hare and Joe Salisbury on the top court.

The junior tandem of Grant Ive and Tristan Jackson were level at 6-6 in a tiebreak on the second court with Connor Glennon and David Henry before their match was halted.

Jackson was the first off court in singles action as he upset No. 114-ranked O’Leary at the fifth position. The victory for Jackson was the second of his career over a ranked opponent, and he also handed O’Leary his first-career loss. The freshman entered the match with a 21-0 record.

No. 94-ranked Marsland was the next to shake hands after he topped Grimal 6-4, 7-5 at the second position.

Ive clinched Tulsa’s impressive sixth championship with a 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4) triumph over Glennon on the fourth court.

The other three singles matches were halted.

This marked the fourth-straight year Tulsa has eliminated Memphis from the league tournament. TU improved its all-time record in the Conference Championship to a staggering 20-1 (.952).

This is the second-straight year and the fourth overall (2007-08, 2011-12) that both Tulsa tennis programs have captured the Conference Championship. Of the 14 league titles contested since the most recent conference realignment in 2005-06, the Golden Hurricane tennis programs have captured 11 championships.

Tulsa has earned C-USA’s automatic berth into the Division I Men’s Tennis Championship, and the team will enter the tournament riding an eight-match win streak. TU has also won 12 of its last 13 matches, and the team will find out its opening opponent/site during the selection show on .com May 1.

Updated 04-24-2012

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