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Red Raiders vying for position in NCAAs

No. 27 Texas Tech men's tennis qualified for the NCAA tournament.

Posted: April 17, 2014 - 10:45pm  |  Updated: April 18, 2014 - 12:15am
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As TCU comes to town on the outside looking in at the NCAA tournament, Texas Tech is well aware of the turn of events from last year when the Horned Frogs denied their postseason wishes in Fort Worth and then again in the Big 12 Championships.

“This is kind of like a revenge thing for us,” sophomore Hugo Dojas said. “It’s going to be a pretty awesome match. Everyone’s excited about it.”

But a win would mean more than just simple revenge. With the win over Oklahoma State last weekend, No. 27 Texas Tech men’s tennis qualified for the NCAA tournament. And if they can stay in the top 32, the Red Raiders also have the opportunity to be the two seed in the postseason.

Texas Tech returns home to the McLeod Tennis Center and has the chance this weekend to close out its regular season with a bang against No. 55 TCU and No. 6 Texas.

“The bottom line is we’re at home where we love playing and have had success this year,” Texas Tech coach Tim Siegel said. “We’re playing two teams that are very strong.”

TCU is currently last in the Big 12 with an 11-11 overall record and winless in conference play. Despite their poor record, Siegel refuses to dismiss the Horned Frogs.

“Don’t be mistaken by their ranking,” Siegel said. “They’ve lost six times to a team in the top-25 4-3.”

After facing off against TCU, the Red Raiders have a quick turnaround as they host the Longhorns 24 hours later. Texas at 19-4 on the season has only dropped one conference game this year, 2-5 to Baylor. If it rains on Saturday, the match will be moved to the Falls and will be played at 6 p.m. Tech hopes to capitalize off home court advantage this weekend to seal a fourth-place Big 12 finish.

For Dojas, the atmosphere in Lubbock is something special.

“Before coming here you play for yourself, so it’s a totally different thing here,” he said. “You play for each other, (the people) who are cheering for you and for Texas Tech.”

As the youngest team ranked in the top-50 (five freshmen and four sophomores), Texas Tech has turned things around since the start of its season.

After starting 5-5, the Red Raiders have won nine of their last 11, including going undefeated in the month of March.

“I’m really proud of the fact that these guys have handled the adversity of playing so many tough teams,” Siegel said. “Because of that, we are where we are now because we’ve dealt with the competition and are playing our best tennis in March and April. That’s what every coach wants.”

krista.pirtle@lubbockonline.com

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