COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 15 Texas A&M men’s tennis team upset No. 4 Ohio State on Sunday in front of 281 fans at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station. With the win, Texas A&M improves to 7-0 while Ohio State drops its first match at 8-1. The Aggies are off to their best start in 19 years when the 1994 team started 19-0. The win marks the highest ranked opponent Texas A&M has defeated since knocking off No. 4 Baylor, 4-3, on April 12, 2006.
“To play a team like this in the home-opener and to finish with this kind of result is incredible,” men’s tennis head coach Steve Denton said. “I couldn’t ask for a better start from this team. Both of our freshmen came through for us today. They’re great players and they showed that this afternoon. This is a really exciting win for this young team.”
Texas A&M earned the crucial doubles point with a thrilling victory from the 6th ranked duo of Harry Adams and Shane Vinsant at the No. 2 position. The freshmen pair, down two-breaks early, rallied in the tie-break set to defeat Devin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen, 8-7 (5). Vinsant, playing near the net, returned a volley from near the scorers stand around the net to earn the point for the Aggies. Earlier the pair of Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow moved ahead early and never looked back against Peter Kobelt and Connor Smith, 8-5, from the No. 1 line. The Aggies dropped their first doubles set on the season when Ohio State’s Blaz Rola and Hunter Callahan outlasted a late rally from Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo, 8-6 at the No. 3 slot.
“For us to win No. 1 and 2 doubles was key for us today,” Denton said on the doubles matches. “Our guys did a great job. We were down a break at No. 2 but our freshmen came through and were able to have the shot of the year for us to clinch the doubles point.”
Ohio State claimed the first singles point to even the match at one when Rola downed Ore, 6-4, 2-6 at the No. 1 line. Texas A&M quickly retook the lead when Vinsant defeated 30th ranked Chris Diaz, 6-1, 6-4 at the No. 4 slot. The Aggies increased their lead to 3-1 when Withrow battled through pain to upset No. 13 Connor Smith, 6-3, 6-4 at the No. 5 position. Ohio State would rally for the next two points with wins from Callahan over No. 87 Szabo, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 at the No. 6 line and No. 1 Kobelt over No. 103 Efferding, 6-4, 7-6 (1) at the No. 2 slot. With the match tied at three, all eyes fell on the freshman Adams. After Adams won the first set 6-3, McCarthy took the second set 6-4 to force a tie-breaker set to decide the match. After a vicious back and forth, Adams took the lead for good on a double-fault from the senior from Ohio State. The New Braunfels native placed a forehand winner in the corner out of the reach of McCarthy to clinch the match for the Aggies.
“All the matches were outstanding today,” Denton said on the singles results. “Blaz Rola is an exceptional tennis player. Today he was just a little better than Junior (Ore). Peter Kobelt had some outstanding serves against Jeremy (Efferding) which really dictated the tie-breaker. Our freshmen came through at the three and four lines. Jackson (Withrow) had a gutsy effort. He’s been battling through some injuries and he came out firing today. I’m really pleased with his effort. He came through with flying colors for us. ”
Texas A&M travels to Seattle next weekend for the ITA Indoor championship. Stay tuned to AggieAthletics.com for more information regarding the tournament. To learn more about the men’s tennis team, follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter.
Harvard Downs Vanderbilt in Chicago
CHICAGO – No. 40 Vanderbilt saw its four-match win streak come to an end Sunday afternoon to the hands of No. 47 Harvard, 4-3 at the Combe Tennis Center.
The Commodores fell to 5-3 on the season following the loss, while Harvard upped its record to 4-3 for the season.
Harvard started out the match in dominating fashion, winning two of the three doubles matches to take a 1-0 lead into singles. Ryan Lipman and Rhys Johnson could not get into a groove against Casey MacMaster and Denis Nguyen in No. 1 singles, as the Vandy duo fell, 8-4.
In the second spot, Andy Nguyen and Nicky Hu defeated Gonzales Austin and Suresh Eswaran, 8-3. It is only the second loss for the Commodore pairing this season.
Vanderbilt would win three singles matches, but it wasn’t enough to pull out the win. The Crimson won singles at positions, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4.
Lipman won his fifth-straight match, as he played in the No. 1 position. The redshirt junior defeated Denis Nguyen, 6-2, 6-3. Marc van der Merwe and Kris Yee recorded the final two wins on the day for Vandy.
With Yee’s win, he has now won six-consecutive singles matches. The Las Vegas, Nev., native defeated Casey MacMaster in three sets, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. In the No. 5 position, van der Merwe defeated Nicky Hu, 7-5, 6-4.
Vanderbilt returns home for a double-header versus Memphis and Lipscomb Friday, Feb. 15 at the Currey Tennis Center. The Commodores will play Memphis at 2 p.m., followed by a match versus Lipscomb.
South Carolina Rallies Past NC State
COLUMBIA, S.C. - No. 49 South Carolina had to battle back all afternoon, but was rewarded with a 4-3 win over No. 34 NC State at Carolina Tennis Center on Sunday. The Gamecocks (7-3) dropped the doubles point, but got a pair of comeback three-set victories from Andrew Adams and Thiago Pinheiro to earn their seventh win of the season and their first over a team ranked higher than them.
"We needed that," South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. "It's an understatement, but we needed it most importantly for our team to understand that they're tough and it's okay to still win when you don't play well. After playing so well against Georgia Tech last week, we struggled on Friday against Wake Forest, and it seemed we weren't comfortable leading against a pretty good team. So today was a great step in our team's growth process. We came out a little sluggish and had some pressure on us, but I told them between doubles and singles that if they want to be a good team, the time is now. They need to feel that pressure, and they grew up a lot today. It was important to see that even when we're down, which we were in every match, we can come back to get a win."
In doubles action, the Wolfpack took advantage of early service breaks in the Nos. 1 and 3 matches to earn the first team point of the match.
The Gamecocks turned things around in singles play and took a 2-1 lead with wins from Tsvetan Mihov and Kyle Koch. Mihov dominated his first set against Robbie Mudge in the top spot in the lineup and stayed strong to finish with a 6-1, 6-3 victory. In the No. 5 spot, Koch played steady and defeated Sean Weber 6-2, 6-2. NC State came back and tied the score at 2-2 with a win at No. 2 singles. Chip Cox fought hard in the first set, but dropped the tiebreak to Austin Powell 7-6 (5) and was not able to regain the momentum in the second set, falling 6-0.
In the three remaining matches, the Gamecocks had a lead in just one as Harry Menzies claimed the first set 6-3 from Beck Bond in the No. 6 contest. Adams and Pinheiro had each ceded their first sets, leaving the Wolfpack in the driver's seat for the team decision. But, the tables turned in all three matches with Bond rallying to win his second set 7-5. Likewise, Adams pushed past Simone Norenius in the No. 3 match with a late service break to claim this second set 7-5. Pinheiro also mounted a comeback to level his No. 4 match at a set each, topping Dave Thomson 6-4 in the second after trailing 0-3 at the start.
Menzies fell behind early in the third set, and Bond put the Wolfpack up 3-2 with a 6-4 win. Adams answered with an efficient, dominating 6-1 third-set win over Norenius to knot the match at 3-3.
For the second time in as many matches, Pinheiro was the last on the court, only this time the team outcome was in the balance. The Gamecock sophomore struck first with a service break to go up 3-2 and held off Thomson down the stretch to claim the 6-4 victory for himself and the Garnet and Black.
"Playing for this team, playing for this family, playing for this program is everything for me," Pinheiro said. "I fought through it, and I found a way to get back into the match. I came back to win the second set with a lot of pride, a lot of heart, and the third set was the same thing. It was my pride of playing for this school that kept me alive in that match and made me win."
The Gamecocks will be back in action Wed., Feb. 20, when they host No. 39 UNC Wilmington.