The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi tennis teams will see their first action of the fall this weekend as the program hosts the Second Annual Islanders Open, an officially-sanctioned ITA fall tournament. The tournament will be hosted in its entirety at the HEB Tennis Center.
"We're very happy to be hosting an official ITA fall tournament here," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "It's something we have wanted to do for a long time; bring an officially sanctioned ITA tournament to Corpus Christi.
"It's a tremendous benefit for our student-athletes to play at home, and it's great for the Corpus Christi tennis community."
On the women's side, the Islanders will play host to members from the Rice, Houston, Lamar, Texas-Pan American and Abilene Christian teams. The men's bracket will have players from Texas-Pan American, Abilene Christian and Tyler Junior College taking part.
The tournament begins on Saturday morning and will run through Monday. The first matches will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday with singles. There will be another round of singles starting at 2:00 p.m. that day before the start of doubles action at 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. to close out the first day.
On Sunday, singles action picks back up at 9:00 a.m. and will run throughout the day. In addition to the elimination tournament, all players that lose in the first round will play a consolation bracket as well.
The finals will be on Monday morning, once again beginning at 9:00 a.m. and lasting until a champion is crowned.
The winner of the women's draw last year was Mirna Cicak. The Islanders junior will be returning to defend her title along with newcomers Mia Matuszak, Sandra Bruges, Stefania Nicolae and Ashley Garza.
Matuszak is a sophomore transfer from Katy that played at Texas Tech and is a former top 10 juniors player in Texas. Bruges is a freshman from Spain while Nicolae is a freshman from Romania. Both players were ranked in the top 60 of their country, including all juniors, adult and professional players. Garza is a local talent who is a native of Corpus Christi and played at Carroll High School.
"We are very high on these new girls, they have worked extremely hard in practice so far, are very high level players and have great attitudes," said Moore. "I think I can safely say it's the strongest group of newcomers we have ever had.
"These girls fit into the Islanders culture of hard work and over emphasis on the team aspect very well. Just like always, it boils down to one thing, how hard we work and how much we improve every day. That's been our focus so far."
On the men's side Laurent Montoisy, the Islanders No. 1 player who redshirted last season, will be playing in his first tournament since 2009. He will be joined by newcomers Aurelien Tave and Matt Westmoreland.
Tave is a junior transfer from France who played No. 1 singles for Troy last season when they won the Sun Belt Conference Championship. Westmoreland is a freshman who comes to the Island University from the Hawaiian Islands.
"We're very excited about these guys joining our team and we are expecting great things from them," said Moore. "They have a very bright future here if they show up to work hard every day."