Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

The Cowboys’ season leans on veteran depth, young talent and an avid fan base.

The OSU men’s tennis team is in full swing, with the Cowboys starting off their first two weeks of the season undefeated. The Cowboys’ doubleheader season opener against UTRGV and Omaha ended with two 6-1 victories. The next week, the Cowboys hosted Middle Tennessee State in a back-and-forth battle that resulted in a 4-2 win for the Cowboys.

With the start of coach Dustin Taylor’s third season with the Cowboys, here are three takeaways from the first two weeks of the season.

Veteran Depth and Bonds

Court 1 and 2 players Tyler Zink and Alex Garcia were brought in during Taylor’s first year, and they have been integral to the team’s success. Both Zink and Garcia are nationally ranked on the ITA singles ranking with No. 18 and No. 48.

This season, the duo is 3-0 in doubles on Court 1 and 3-0 in singles on Courts 1 and 2. Garcia credits the growth the team and coaches have had together with the success they have had so far this season. 

“Yeah, I feel like we’re all growing,” Garcia said. “I was new here. (Taylor) was new here. Basically, everyone was new. Nobody was here before we came. It’s been great. The coaching staff is perfect. Now we understand each other way better. And it’s just like great, great chemistry right now, and I couldn’t be happier with where the team is right now.

Young Talent

The veterans on the team are not the only stars on the court. Freshman Erik Schiessl has made a significant impact on the team. In singles, Schiessl has gone 3-0 in matches on Courts 4 and 5, going 37-14 in sets. Having a player who can consistently get wins on the mid to lower courts is integral to winning tough matches.

Taylor has been impressed by Schiessl’s performance and has said that he believes Schiessl to be one the best freshmen in the country.

Involved Fan Base

Oklahoma State is known for its dedicated fan base, but this season seems as if it will be a total change at the Greenwood Tennis Center.

In the first three matches of the season, the Greenwood Tennis Center had some of the largest and most vocal crowds in the Taylor era. 

“This is Stillwater, Oklahoma State, Greenwood Tennis Center; it doesn’t get much more special,” Taylor said. “And then probably growing, which is super exciting. I always say that the best fan bases in the country are in Stillwater, and if you give them a product to get behind and to cheer for, they’re gonna be there for you. They’ve been there the last three years for us in this rebuild and couldn’t be more grateful for them. And here we are hopefully giving them what they deserve.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com

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