Houston - The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's tennis team had another marathon match on Saturday afternoon before taking a 4-1 win over the Tulane Green Wave on the second day of the 52nd Annual Rice Invitational. Originally scheduled to be played at Rice University, the match was moved indoors to the Galleria Tennis Club due to rain and was played on just three courts with the match lasting over six hours.
The Islanders move to 7-11 on the season with the win over the Green Wave. Tulane is now 3-7 on the season.
After losing the doubles point, TAMUCC immediately stormed back to win four singles matches and close out the match.
The Islanders No. 1 team of seniors Dmitry Novikov and James Langford won 8-5 over Shaye Wali and Joe Young to take an early lead. In No. 2 doubles, Robert Raguz and Alex Pavlov were up 4-1 before Rodrigo Rappaccioli and Adam Bernstein came back to win 8-6 and even the doubles competition. That left the point up to No. 3 doubles where Duje Janjic and Andrew Maingot lost a heartbreaking match 8-6 to Trevor Getz and Etham Frenkel to put Tulane up 1-0.
"I give our guys a lot of credit for their commitment to stay positive and keep fighting extremely hard," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "There's just a certain level of intensity that you must sustain and today we really did that.
"They showed a lot of toughness today after losing the doubles point to charge back so hard."
The Islanders stormed back with a vengeance, winning four-straight singles matches to clinch the match for TAMUCC. Raguz and Langford got them on the board with a pair of straight-set wins.
Raguz won at No. 3 singles by a 6-2, 6-2 final over Bernstein to knot the match at 1-1. Langford followed closely behind, winning 7-5, 6-3 at the No. 2 spot to put TAMUCC up in the match. Novikov then put them up 3-1 when he won a 6-3, 7-6 match at No. 1 singles over Wali. Alex Pavlov closed out the match at the No. 5 spot by taking a 6-4, 6-2 final over Coby Kramer-Golinkof. Janjic was up 3-6, 6-4, 2-1 at No. 4 singles and Nathan Robinson was up 6-1, 4-1 at No. 6 singles when play was stopped.
"This game is about mental toughness and to be elite you've got to bring it every point like a pit bull," said Moore. "If you don't, you'll get eaten alive at this level because it is just so competitive.
"I really give a lot of credit to our veteran guys Dmitry and James, they're really teaching that concept by example to these young guys."
Novikov is 8-5 at the No. 1 position this season, taking on the very best from opposing teams, including several nationally-ranked powerhouses. Langford sports an impressive 10-5 record with all matches being played at the No. 2 singles spot.
The road does not get any easier for the Islanders tomorrow when they take on the host-team Rice Owls in the final match of the tournament. The Owls are ranked No. 48 in the nation and will have the home-court advantage when facing the Islanders. That just means they will have to work even harder tomorrow to earn a victory.
"We've lost our share of close ones this year but they're still very positive and fighting extremely hard and really getting better," said Moore. "Tomorrow we face a very tough Rice team that will require another very focused effort.
"The only solution to get over the hump is to stay positive and keep fighting."
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi vs Tulane
3/20/2010 at Houston, Texas
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 4, Tulane 1
1. Dmitry Novikov (AMCC) def. Shaye Wali (TULANE) 6-3, 7-6
2. James Langford (AMCC) def. Joe Young (TULANE) 7-5, 6-3
3. Robert Raguz (AMCC) def. Adam Bernstein (TULANE) 6-2, 6-2
4. Rodrigo Rappaccioli (TULANE) vs. Duje Janjic (AMCC) 6-3, 4-6, 1-2, unfinished
5. Alex Pavlov (AMCC) def. Coby Kramer-Golinkof (TULANE) 6-4, 6-2
6. Trevor Getz (TULANE) vs. Nathan Robinson (AMCC) 1-6, 1-4, unfinished
1. Dmitry Novikov/James Langford (AMCC) def. Shaye Wali/Joe Young (TULANE) 8-5
2. Rodrigo Rappaccioli/Adam Bernstein (TULANE) def. Robert Raguz/Alex Pavlov (AMCC) 8-6
3. Trevor Getz/Etham Frenkel (TULANE) def. Duje Janjic/Andrew Maingot (AMCC) 8-6
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 7-11
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (3,2,1,5)
52nd Rice Invitational