In the final home match of his career, Dmitry Novikov led his Texas A&M-Corpus Christi teammates to a 6-1 win over rival UTSA to put themselves in the driver's seat for the Southland Conference Championship. Novikov won both his singles and doubles matches on the day and recorded his 78th and 79th career victories to add to his Islander record.
The win improves the Islanders to 9-13 overall and 3-1 in the Southland Conference. The loss dropped UTSA into a first-place tie with TAMUCC at 11-8 overall and 3-1 in the Southland. A win against Lamar next Saturday would give the Islanders their third-straight regular season Southland Conference Championship.
"It's amazing the things that can happen if you just keep fighting and never give up," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "These young men have put themselves in a position to have a chance to do something pretty special.
"I can tell you with a fair amount of confidence that this will be a pretty focused week of practice."
The Islanders have only three scholarships this year and chose to red-shirt two players thus playing with a total of two active scholarships in contrast to the 4.5 that their competition has in Division I men's tennis. The Islanders are not eligible for the Southland Conference or NCAA Tournament this season due to it NCAA sanctions year.
In doubles action, the Islanders won quickly at the No. 1 spot as Novikov and James Langford took an 8-2 final over Rodrigo Morgado and Pedro Zanotelli. They were unable to pick up any more however, as Andrew Maingot and Nathan Robinson lost 8-5 to Martin Ayala and Daniel Moreiras at the No. 3 spot and Alex Pavlov and Robert Raguz lost 8-5 to Tyler Brown and Max Stratmann at the No. 2 position.
The Islanders came out in dominating fashion once singles play began, taking all six matches on their way to the 6-1 final.
The way every single player fought today in singles was exceptional," said Moore. "I'm proud of them."
Pavlov started it off with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Stratmann at No. 4 singles and was followed quickly by Duje Janjic beating Moreiras 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 at the No. 5 position. Novikov then put the Islanders on the verge of clinching the match with his 7-5, 7-5 win over Morgado at No. 1 singles. Raguz closed out the match in three sets against Brown at No. 3 singles, winning 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 to give the Islanders the victory.
Robinson came from a set down to win at No. 6 singles over Jorge Delgado by a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 score. Langford was the last to complete his match after splitting the first sets and taking the third to win 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 over Ayala.
Next up for the Islanders are the Lamar Cardinals in Beaumont next Saturday. If TAMUCC wins the match, they will at the very least tie for the Southland Conference Championship while holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over UTSA, the only other team with just one Southland loss. Match time is set for 1 PM.
UTSA vs Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
4/10/2010 at Corpus Christi, Texas
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 6, UTSA 1
1. Dmitry Novikov (AMCC) def. Rodrigo Morgado (UTSA) 7-5, 7-5
2. James Langford (AMCC) def. Martin Ayala (UTSA) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
3. Robert Raguz (AMCC) def. Tyler Brown (UTSA) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
4. Alex Pavlov (AMCC) def. Max Stratmann (UTSA) 6-3, 6-2
5. Duje Janjic (AMCC) def. Daniel Moreiras (UTSA) 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
6. Nathan Robinson (AMCC) def. Jorge Delgado (UTSA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
1. Dmitry Novikov/James Langford (AMCC) def. Rodrigo Morgado/Pedro Zanotelli (UTSA) 8-2
2. Tyler Brown/Max Stratmann (UTSA) def. Alex Pavlov/Robert Raguz (AMCC) 8-5
3. Martin Ayala/Daniel Moreiras (UTSA) def. Andrew Maingot/Nathan Robinson (AMCC) 8-5
UTSA 11-8, 3-1 Southland
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 9-13, 3-1 Southland
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (4,5,1,3,6,2)