Huskers Fall Short Against Cowboys

By NU Athletic Communications
Calin Paar upset the nation's 54th-ranked singles player in Nebraska's loss to the Cowboys.
Calin Paar upset the nation's 54th-ranked singles player in Nebraska's loss to the Cowboys.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Lincoln - The Nebraska men’s tennis team lost its Big 12 opener to No. 21 Oklahoma State 5-2 on Friday afternoon at the Nebraska Tennis Center. The loss snaps a three-match win streak for the Huskers and puts them at 9-10 overall this year, including 0-1 in the Big 12. Oklahoma State moves to 13-6 and 2-1 in the Big 12.

Thanks to near perfect weather conditions in Lincoln, the teams were able to play the match outdoors at the Nebraska Tennis Center, marking the first time the Huskers have played a home match outdoors this season.

NU Head Coach Kerry McDermott shuffled the doubles lineups around, putting two teams out on the court that hadn’t played together in a match yet this season. McDermott’s strategy nearly paid off, as one of the new duos, David Bendheim and Hendrik Stahmer, won at No. 3 doubles 8-3. Renato Melo and Tobias Schneider teamed up for the first time all year at No. 1 doubles, where they lost 8-0, and Calin Paar and Francois Van Impe narrowly lost at No. 2 doubles 8-6, giving the Cowboys the crucial doubles point and a 1-0 lead going into singles play.

Paar tied the match at 1-1 after upsetting OSU’s Ivan Puchkarov, the nation’s 54th ranked singles player, 6-4, 6-0. Paar fell behind early in the first set 3-0, but stormed back to take six of the next seven games and then six straight games in the second set to round off his impressive victory. The win is the NU freshman’s sixth in a row and his 13th of the spring.

“I was real proud of Calin’s play today,” said McDermott. “He showed a lot of heart and I think the other guys on the team are seeing how hard he’s been playing and it’s rubbing off on them."

David Bendheim put up a great fight at No. 1 singles against OSU’s Oleksandr Nedovyesov, who is ranked No. 8 nationally in singles play, but couldn’t pull off the upset, losing 7-5, 6-3, giving the Cowboys a 2-1 lead. Oklahoma State stretched it to 5-1 with three more singles wins, at No. 3, No. 4 and No. 6. Melo battled back from losing the first set to force a third-set super-tiebreaker at No. 5 singles, where he went on to win, giving the Huskers their second point of the day with a 3-6, 6-3, (10-8) win, Melo’s fourth victory in his last five singles matches.

“I thought we played a good match,” McDermott said. “We can’t really get down on the team for lack of effort. Oklahoma State is just a better team, and we’ve got to give them credit. I thought we battled hard and we’ve just got to get ready for tomorrow.”

Nebraska won’t have much time to recover from its tough match today as it takes on No. 6 Texas on Saturday at the Nebraska Tennis Center. First serve against the Longhorns is scheduled for 12 p.m.

Results
Oklahoma State 5, Nebraska 2

Doubles
No. 1 Nedovyesov/Byrnes (OSU) def. Bendheim/Melo (NU), 8-0
No. 2 Petrov/Pushkarov (OSU) def. Paar/Van Impe (NU), 8-6
No. 3 Bendheim/Stahmer (NU) def. Bobytskyi/Sobolta (OSU), 8-3

Singles
No. 1 Oleksandr Nedovyesov (OSU) def. David Bendheim (NU), 7-5, 6-3
No. 2 Calin Paar (NU) def. Ivan Puchkarov (OSU), 6-4, 6-0
No. 3 Dmytro Petrov (OSU) def. Hendrik Stahmer (NU), 6-3, 6-3
No. 4 Nathan Byrnes (OSU) def. Francois Van Impe (NU), 6-3, 6-2
No. 5 Renato Melo (NU) def. Anton Bobytski (OSU), 3-6, 6-3, (10-8)
No. 6 Igor Sobolta (OSU) def. Mark Tate (NU), 6-2, 7-6 (4)

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