Even with Daniil Proskura’s fist pumps and Andrew Goodwin’s enthusiastic shouts, it still wasn’t enough to keep the Crimson Tide men alive. Fans in the stands were leaning over glass barriers just to keep the Alabama men’s tennis team fired up, but once the fourth match was lost, it was over.
Alabama closed out the finale of the ITA-Kickoff Weekend by losing to Oklahoma State, 4-0, Saturday and No. 7 Oklahoma, 4-1, Sunday. Freshman Sean Donohue won the lone point for Alabama against the Sooners.
“We felt that the other team wasn’t necessarily better than us, but we were afraid to lose [on Saturday],” Alabama coach George Husack said. “[On Sunday] we had to come out and make it physical, make it draining for the other team. Bottom line, on paper, they are more talented than we are. Logic may say that talent trumps everything, but we went into this match and our passion, our fight had to trump logic.”
(See also “Alabama heads to Indoor Championships in Virginia“)
Alabama struggled early in the doubles matches against Oklahoma, losing 6-1 and 6-3. During the singles matches, Alabama tried to come back and take charge, but Proskura’s singles loss sealed the deal for the Sooners.
“Danny’s got to stick to his game plan all the time,” Husack said. “I think sometimes where he gets burned a little bit is when he just sticks to his game plan, and sometimes that’s an opponents strength. In his case, his opponent picked it up at the end, and he ripped forehands, that was his strength, and he was too good.”
Donohue’s singles win could have marked a turnaround for the Crimson Tide, who, at the time, still had three singles matches going. Goodwin and Stuart Kenyon were both in their third set when the match ended.
“The thing I pride myself on is I don’t want my teammates looking over at my court thinking, ‘Aw man, Andrew’s getting crushed,’” Goodwin said. “I want them looking over every time, no matter what the scoreboard is saying, [to say] ‘He’s fighting his butt off, playing as hard as he can trying to get us a point.’”
The Crimson Tide dropped to 4-4 overall in the season with the pair of weekend losses.
Alabama has a two-week break before heading to Montgomery for the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic.
“We’re less than a handful of points away from being in the top ten,” Husack said. “But at the same time, we can also [drop]. We’ve got to take what we learn here and use that. We’re not satisfied by any means with a loss, but it was certainly a big improvement from [Saturday] in terms of their spirit and their fight.”
(See also “Tide women’s tennis team takes down Georgia State“)