ATHENS, Ga. -- For just the second time in program history, Oklahoma advanced to the Round of Eight of the NCAA tournament with a 4-0 victory against the 15th-seeded Kentucky Wildcats.
The Sooners (26-3, 7-2 Big 12) topped Kentucky (23-10, 9-3 SEC) for the second time this season. The first victory came in February when OU claimed a 5-2 victory at home.In the previous matchup between the teams, Kentucky walked away with the doubles point with wins at No. 2 and 3. The new Sooners lineup proved to work in their favor as the team took an early 1-0 lead after clinching the doubles point.
Dane Webb and Axel Alvarez cruised to an easy 8-3 victory at the No. 1 position to give Oklahoma the early advantage.
After falling behind 5-1 on court No. 3, Nick Papac and Alex Ghilea fought back to keep the match at a close 6-5. However, their comeback fell short as Kentucky topped the pair 8-5. Guillermo Alcorta and Andrew Harris clinched the doubles victory for the Sooners with an 8-5 win at the No. 2 spot.
“In these tournaments, when you have to play four out of five days, just to have the opportunity to finish faster is a huge thing,” OU head coach John Roddick said. “Winning the doubles point definitely helps with that.”
In singles, all six Sooners cruised to first-set wins. Alcorta put the Sooners up 2-0 with a 6-1, 6-2 win at the premier spot. Harris followed close behind with a 6-1, 7-5 victory at No. 4.
Clinching the match was Webb at the No. 3 position. He notched a 6-3, 6-3 win to seal the victory against Kentucky.
“The guys played well and they’re going to go out and play well and put us in a good position,” Roddick said.
Oklahoma made its first trip to the quarterfinals in 2010. The Sooners defeated Texas 4-2 in the Round of 16 before falling to Georgia 4-0.
Roddick's squad will face North Carolina at 4 p.m. ET Sunday. The Tar Heels knocked off host Georgia 4-2 to advance to the quarterfinals.