OKLAHOMA CITY Kansas' men's and women's tennis teams completed a sweep at the Big Eight championships on Sunday at the Woodlake Racquet Club.
The Jayhawk women defeated Oklahoma, 5-2, for their fourth straight league championship. The men blitzed Colorado, 4-0, for their second straight league title.
The Jayhawk teams dominated. The women beat Missouri, 6-0, and Oklahoma State, 5-0, to go with Sunday's victory. The men, who had a bye in the first round, blanked both Oklahoma State, 4-0, and CU.
"This is very special because we lost our two through five singles from last year's team," KU women's coach Chuck Merzbacher said. "This is something that you can hang your hat on."
"This is our deepest team ever," noted men's coach Michael Center. "We had a lot of experience returning from last year and playing together. Then with the addition of No. 1 singles (Enrique Abaroa), it added a lot to our depth."
On Sunday, KU's Abaroa stopped CU's Marc Bauer, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 1 singles. Also, Martin Eriksson and Manny Ortiz won in straight sets at Nos. 5 and 6 singles respectively.
The other matches were not played because KU had wrapped up the title. KU won the doubles point as the No. 2 team of Ortiz and Victor Fimbres cruised 8-1, as did the No. 3 team of Tim Radogna and Abaroa.
"Our very difficult schedule helped us prepare for this tournament," Center said. "This team has been through a lot together, both good and bad, and I'm really proud of how they've come together.
On the women's side, the Jayhawks lost the first set in three singles matches after falling behind, 2-0, but rallied.
"I had a couple heart attacks through that one. We didn't play particularly well, but we competed well," Merzbacher said.
Nora Koves beat Anne Covert at No. 1 singles, 6-7, 6-2, 6-2. Jenny Atkerson won over Linda Cifranic, at No. 2, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 and Bianca Kirchhof prevailed over Narelle Cox at No. 5, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Also, Christie Sim rolled at No. 3, 6-4, 6-4. KU's doubles team of Koves and Kirchhof won in straight sets at No. 1 doubles, the only doubles match contested.
"Playing in the two spots was really no factor," Merzbacher said of the change of venue because of the weather. "If anything, playing indoors might have been beneficial because of the Oklahoma wind."
The Big Eight elected to hold the tournament despite Wednesday's bombing of a federal office building in Oklahoma City.
"The bomb was real life, while this tennis match is artificial," Merzbacher said. "It puts everything in perspective. The tennis matches lose their importance."
"Horrible," Center said of the tragic loss of life in Oklahoma. "Tennis is important, but not that important."
The KU men's title was the school's 11th. The Jayhawk women have won five league crowns. The Jayhawk men will next host an NCAA regional, May 6-7, at the Allen Fieldhouse courts. The women are hoping to receive a bid to the 20-team NCAA meet, May 12-20, in Malibu, Calif.