The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's and women's tennis programs had quite the day as members of both teams had successful play in the inaugural Islander Open, an ITA-sanctioned fall tournament.
"We are very proud of the way both teams competed today," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "The one thing that these teams are known for is for the special way that they compete.
"Today at home, they competed even extra tough because we all realize it was an honor to get awarded this tournament and I think that was reflected today with the way the teams fought."
On both the men's and women's singles brackets, TAMUCC has 3-of-4 players in the quarterfinals, with Dmitry Novikov, James Langford and Alex Pavlov for the men and Mirna Cicak, Doris Kuselj and Bianca Discordia for the women. In the women's B Singles draw, LeAnne Mascall has made it to the finals where she will take on Salvatova from Texas-Pan American.
"I'm very proud of Doris and LeAnne and Andrew, playing their first college matches ever, and really showing a lot of poise and toughness," said Moore. "Bianca and Nathan Robinson showed those same qualities playing their first matches as Islanders while Mirna and Megan were great team captains today.
"I feel like the new group of guys really stepped up today. They know they've lost three seniors off of an NCAA team last year and it is their time to step up and I felt they really did that."
Novikov started off his day quickly, winning 6-1, 6-1 over Bein from Abilene Christian. Novikov then moved to the quarterfinals by downing Beau Bernstein from UTPA by an identical 6-1, 6-1 final.
Langford moved to the semis by beating fellow Islander Andrew Maingot in the second round. In the first round, Langford beat Mohinta from UTPA by a 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 score and Maingot won his first collegiate match ever by downing Kelley from ACU by a quick 6-1, 6-0 final. In the second round, Langford used his experience to his advantage as he got by Maingot with a 6-4, 6-0 score. Nathan Robinson won his first match by a score of 6-3, 1-0 ret. over Riani but fell to Vijayargavan by a 6-4, 6-4 score.
"I feel like Dmitry and James are ready to step up and have huge years," said Moore. "I think they know the baton has been passed to them and they are extremely motivated."
Pavlov opened with a 7-6, def. victory over Dornauf of UTPA and then won his second round match over Brett Bernstein of Pan Am by a 6-3, 7-6 score.
On the women's side, Cicak got a bye in the first round and then made quick work of Carver from Abilene, winning 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the semis. Kuselj enjoyed the same benefit of a first-round bye and then beat Lamar's Ashrafi by a 7-5, 6-2 score to move on. Discordia took out a pair of UTPA players on the day, beating Raty by a 6-3, 6-1 final before moving past Cantu with a 6-3, 6-2 victory.
In the B Singles draw, Mascall first downed Kelley of ACU by a 6-4, 6-3 final before taking on Burton from UTPA, winning 7-6, 6-3. Megan Harless lost her first round match against Salvatova of UTPA by a 6-2, 6-3 final but bounced back to beat Binagia of Lamar by a 6-0, 6-1 score.
In the doubles round, no Islander women's matches were scheduled for today. On the men's side, Novikov and Langford won an 8-2 final over Dornauf and Riana of UTPA. Maingot and Pavlov lost a decision to Mohinta and Beau Bernstein by an 8-5 final.
Saturday begins bright and early for the Islanders at the Corpus Christi Country Club. Discordia and Cicak face off while Kuselj will take on Harbuzi of Lamar with both matches starting at 10 AM. Mascall will take on Salvatova in the B singles draw with start time also at 10 AM.
The men have the same start time, with Langford taking on Vijayargavan in the upper half of the bracket and Pavlov and Novikov squaring off in the bottom half.
In doubles play, Kuselj and Discordia take on Cantu and Raty of UTPA and Cicak and Harless take on Goodney and Binagia of Lamar in the afternoon.
On the men's side, Novikov and Langford play Dornauf and Riani later in the afternoon.
All matches involving the Islanders will be played at the Corpus Christi Country Club on Saturday with all matches remaining on Sunday being played their as well.
The Islanders played well on the first day of the tournament and expect that to continue throughout the weekend. The way the Islanders have been preparing leading up to the event, they know they have what it takes to win.
"I always tell the team that camaraderie and morale are earned from feeling that you are outworking people and are part of a special group," said Moore. "I think the morale on this team is high because they are making those choices."