Houston - The #39 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's tennis team lost a heartbreaker to the #36 Rice Owls on Saturday at the Hampton Inn Galleria Rice Invite by a 4-3 score.
The match sends the Islanders to 5-6 on the season while Rice improves to 11-6 overall on the year.
"This was about as close as a match can get," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "A tiebreaker to win the doubles, a tiebreaker at No. 4 singles and a third set to win the match shows how close it was."
In the doubles portion of the match, the Islanders claimed a thrilling 2-1 victory to take an early 1-0 match lead. In No. 1 doubles, Christoph Mueller and Tobias Scheil defeated Mikhail Pavlov and Dmitry Novikov by an 8-3 score to give the Owls the first match. No. 3 doubles saw David Pace and James Langford equal match one, defeating Christian Saravia and Dennis Polyakov by an identical 8-3 score. The early split set up the final match, No.2 singles between the teams of Jose Zunino and Laurent Montoisy for TAMUCC and Bruno Rosa and Isamu Tachibana of Rice. Zunino and Montoisy eventually prevailed in the tiebreaker, winning the match 9-8 (7-5).
With the Islanders up 1-0, the singles matches began. The first match to conclude was No. 1 singles, with Rosa defeating Pavlov by a 6-0, 6-4 final. No. 3 singles was next, as Montoisy once again gave the Islanders the lead with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Sam Garforth-Bles. No. 5 singles had Tachibana taking down Jaume Farras with a 6-4, 6-4 win. No. 6 singles saw Polyakov and Langford square off, with Polyakov winning the match 6-0, 7-6 (7-3). The deciding match was No.2 singles between Muller and Novikov. It was tight the whole way, as the three set match ended with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 win for Muller in front of his home crowd.
"This was a battle from start to finish in every match," said Moore. "Give Rice credit, they were just a little too tough at home.
"I'm proud of the way our guys competed today, I feel if we compete well and play well, we have a shot against any team in the country."
#36 Rice 4, #39 Texas A&M Corpus Christi 3
1. Bruno Rosa (RICE) def. Mikhail Pavlov (AMCC) 6-0, 6-4
2. Christoph Müller (RICE) def. Dmitry Novikov (AMCC) 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
3. Laurent Montoisy (AMCC) def. Sam Garforth-Bles (RICE) 6-4, 6-3
4. Jose Zunino (AMCC) def. Tobias Scheil (RICE) 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4)
5. Isamu Tachibana (RICE) def. Jaume Farras (AMCC) 6-4, 6-4
6. Dennis Polyakov (RICE) def. James Langford (AMCC) 6-0, 7-6 (7-3)
1. Christoph Müller/Tobias Scheil (RICE) def. Mikhail Pavlov/Dmitry Novikov (AMCC) 8-3
2. Jose Zunino/Laurent Montoisy (AMCC) def. Bruno Rosa/Isamu Tachibana (RICE) 9-8 (7-5)
3. David Pace/James Langford (AMCC) def. Christian Saravia/Dennis Polyakov (RICE) 8-3
Texas A&M Corpus Christi 5-6; National ranking #39
Rice 11-6; National ranking #36
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (1,3,5,6,4,2)