February 22, 2010

ISLANDER TENNIS TEAMS DOWN NICHOLLS FOR SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE VICTORIES

Beaumont - In a rematch of last year's Southland Conference Tournament finals, the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men beat Nicholls by a 4-2 final. The women's team also won a 4-3 match against the Lady Colonels on Sunday afternoon.

The Islander men improve to 4-5 overall and 1-0 in Southland matches. The Islanders have not lost a regular season conference match since Director of Tennis Steve Moore returned to the program in 2006, a streak of 17 matches in-a-row. The women's team is now 6-3 overall and 2-0 in Southland play.

"There's a difference between competing and competing with extreme tenacity every point, every time you compete. That's a high standard but today they brought that.

"We have to keep bringing that every match, it's a long season but you have to keep choosing to bring it like a pit bull every match."

In the dual matches, the singles were played first due to being at a neutral court. On the men's side, Dmitry Novikov won 6-4, 7-6, 6-4 at No. 1 singles, James Langford won 6-1, 6-3 at the No. 2 spot, Duje Janjic won 6-2, 7-5 in No. 4 singles and Nathan Robinson won a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 match at No. 6 singles. Robert Raguz lost a 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 match in the No. 3 spot while Alex Pavlov lost 6-3, 6-2 at No. 5 singles.

"I love the way these young guys fought today, it's the most tenacity that we've fought with all year," said Moore. "Nicholls made the conference finals last year and brought everyone back so we knew they would be tough."

The men bounced back after a tough loss to No. 4 Texas on Saturday to open the Southland schedule victorious. This Islander team starts two freshmen and two sophomores in the top six players.

"These young guys know the baton has been passed to them," said Moore. "They competed with a lot of pride today."

In the women's match, TAMUCC went down by a 3-2 score before they were able to square the match at three and send it to the doubles point. Doris Kuselj won the first match 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2 singles then Adrienne Kovacs lost 6-4, 6-3 at No. 4 singles and Megan Harless lost 7-6, 6-4 at No. 6 singles to go down 2-1. Bianca Discordia won at No. 3 singles to tie the match at 2-2 before Mirna Cicak lost 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 at No. 1 singles to go down 3-2 with one singles match left to play. LeAnne Mascall lost the first set at No. 5 singles before winning the last to win take a 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 win to knot the match at 3-3 and force the doubles matches.

In the doubles, Nicholls won No. 2 doubles 8-5 over Discordia and Mascall to take a 1-0 lead. Kuselj and Nadia Filmalter won 8-6 at the No. 3 spot to bring the match down to No. 1 doubles. Cicak and Harless were tied at 4-4 before winning the final four points to clinch the match with an 8-4 victory to move to 2-0 in Southland play.

"Incredible heart and resiliency from these girls today, I love the way these young girls are fighting and competing," said Moore. "The bottom line is, every time we needed one of these girls to fight back and win today, they did, and that shows incredible heart and toughness.

"I like the way our senior team captains are leading and I like they way that these young players are competing."

The Islander women are in action next on Feb. 27 against Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches while the men host the 46th Annual HEB Tournament of Champions in two weekends, on Mar. 5-6 at the HEB Tennis Center.

"It's a long season and there is a lot of hard work to still be done," said Moore. "That is something we are going to continue to emphasize to these young players."