February 21, 2011

Islanders tennis teams battle Nicholls, wind for a pair of hard-fought 5-2 victories

BEAUMONT, Texas - The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's and women's tennis teams both came up with 5-2 Southland Conference wins over Nicholls on Sunday afternoon at the Lamar tennis complex. The No. 62-ranked men's team has now won 17 of their last 18 regular season league matches while the women's team has jumped out to a 2-0 start in conference action after battling in a very windy match that last over five hours.

The men are now 6-4 on the year and 1-0 in league play with a match against No. 5 Texas on March 1st up next. It will be their seventh match against a team that has been ranked in the ITA national rankings. The women are now 4-1 on the season and 2-0 in the Southland, winning four straight after a season-opening loss to No. 48 Rice.

On the men's side, the Islanders swept through the doubles points as James Langford and Aurelien Tave opened the match with dominating 8-1 win at the No. 3 position. It was the doubles debut for Tave, who had played strictly singles through the first nine matches. Laurent Montoisy and Gergo Weidinger took an 8-5 final at the No. 1 position and Nathan Robinson and Robert Raguz toughed out a 9-7 win at No. 2 doubles.

"I thought Aurelien played great today," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "He has been playing so well at singles that we wanted to give him a chance at doubles, and he played incredibly tough today.

"James Langford was tough as always and a great leader."

Montoisy put his team up 2-0 in the dual match after a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 1 singles. Tave pushed Texas A&M - Corpus Christi to the brink of winning when he was up 6-3, 3-0 when his opponent retired.

"Laurent was tough as nails today and played like a focused senior," said Moore. "He's grown so much mentally and really become tough regardless of the conditions."

Freshman Matt Westmoreland, who is now 8-2 on the year, clinched the match for the Islanders with a 6-1, 6-1 victory at the No. 6 position.

Weidinger won his third match in-a-row, battling down from being down 5-0 in the first set tiebreaker but came back to win 8-6 and take a 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 match at the No. 5 spot. Raguz lost two very tough sets, 7-5, 7-5, to make it 5-1 while Langford lost in three sets, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 at the No. 2 position to finish the match at 5-2.

"These guys are playing extremely hard collectively as a group," said Moore. "James and Laurent have been excellent captains thus far and today was a good win."

Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is no 17-1 over the past four season in Southland Conference play and have only lost one match on the court in the previous five years.

On a very windy day, the Islanders women's tennis team grinded out a 5-2 win over Nicholls in a dual match that lasted over five hours.

"I was extremely proud of Mirna and Bianca," said Moore. "We talk a lot about staying in the present, and that is exactly what they did.

"They didn't play their best doubles, but they put it behind them, focused on the present and played tough as nails in the singles. We needed them to rise up today, and they rose up."

In doubles, Mirna Cicak and Stefania Nicolae lost 8-5 at No. 1, but LeAnne Mascall and Nadia Filmalter quickly tied it up with a 9-8 (7-4) win at the No. 3 position. It all came down to the No. 2 doubles match, with Doris Kuselj and Bianca Discordia losing a tough 9-8 (9-7) battle.

"I thought LeAnne and Nadia played very well, especially in the tiebreaker." said Moore.

After losing an incredibly close doubles point, the Islanders got an immediate win at No. 1 singles from the junior captain Cicak, winning 6-1, 6-4 to even the dual match at 1-1.

"The doubles was a little bit deflating, but Mirna showed great leadership by playing a smart match at No. 1to get us back to 1-1," said Moore. "That's what great leaders do; they rise up when you need them.

"From that point out, it was just a matter of who wanted it more and who had the bigger heart. It was super windy, so there are no free or easy points, and you have to work twice as hard and stay extremely mentally tough."

Nicolae made it 2-1 in favor of Texas A&M - Corpus Christi with a 6-2, 6-3 win at the No. 4 position and Sandra Burges put the Islanders on the brink with a 6-0, 6-2 win at the No. 5 spot. Kuselj lost her match 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 at No. 2 to make it 3-2.

"Doris fought very hard and lost a battle," said Moore. "But I was very pleased with our three young newcomers at 4, 5 and 6; this is where I think our team improved the most.

"They played incredibly tough, focused tennis, were very tough to beat and gave absolutely nothing away."

It looked like it would be 3-3 with Discordia down 3-1 in the third set. The senior was able to rally though, winning five-straight games to take a 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 decision to seal the win for her team.

"Bianca showed a lot of courage today, being willing to change her strategy when she got down 3-1. And she never quit fighting."

Matuszak won her match 6-0, 6-4 to complete the dual match with a 5-2 score in favor of Texas A&M - Corpus Christi.

"It's conference time, and it's all about rising up and playing with a big heart," said Moore. "These girls played with big hearts today.

"I have a lot of respect for Nicholls and the way they competed today, but our girls showed incredibly big heart. The conference is very important to us and they played like it."

Men's Tennis Match Results

Nicholls vs Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

2/20/2011 at Beaumont, Texas

#62 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 5, Nicholls 2

Singles competition:

1. Laurent Montoisy (AMCC) def. Damjan Despotovski (NICH) 6-2, 6-0

2. Shayann Vaezzadeh (NICH) def. James Langford (AMCC) 3-6, 7-5, 6-4

3. Dmitry Kozionov (NICH) def. Robert Raguz (AMCC) 7-5, 7-5

4. Aurelien Tave (AMCC) def. Roy Knight (NICH) 6-3, 3-0, retired

5. Gergo Weidinger (AMCC) def. Palash Tiwari (NICH) 7-6 (8-6), 6-3

6. Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) def. Razvan Cojocaru (NICH) 6-1, 6-1

Doubles competition:

1. Laurent Montoisy/Gergo Weidinger (AMCC) def. Damjan Despotovski/Palash Tiwari (NICH) 8-5

2. Nathan Robinson/Robert Raguz (AMCC) def. Roy Knight/Dmitry Kozionov (NICH) 9-7

3. James Langford/Aurelien Tave (AMCC) def. Matshidiso Malope/Shayann Vaezzadeh (NICH) 8-1

Match Notes:

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 6-4, 1-0 Southland; National ranking #62

Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (1,4,6,5,3,2)

Women's Tennis Match Results

Nicholls vs Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

2/20/2011 at Beaumont, Texas

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 5, Nicholls 2

Singles competition:

1. Mirna Cicak (AMCC) def. Florina Nosca (NICH) 6-1, 6-4

2. Natalia Zamora (NICH) def. Doris Kuselj (AMCC) 3-6, 7-5, 7-5

3. Bianca Discordia (AMCC) def. S. Kalyanasundaram (NICH) 6-4, 5-7, 6-3

4. Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) def. Tatiana Denezhkina (NICH) 6-2, 6-3

5. Sandra Burges (AMCC) def. Marina Ljoshevska (NICH) 6-0, 6-2

6. Mia Matuszak (AMCC) def. Melissa Harrison (NICH) 6-0, 6-4

Doubles competition:

1. Florina Nosca/Natalia Zamora (NICH) def. Mirna Cicak/Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) 8-5

2. Melissa Harrison/Tatiana Denezhkina (NICH) def. Doris Kuselj/Bianca Discordia (AMCC) 9-8 (9-7)

3. LeAnne Mascall/Nadia Filmalter (AMCC) def. Marina Ljoshevska/S. Kalyanasundaram (NICH) 9-8 (7-4)

Match Notes:

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 4-1, 2-0 Southland

Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (1,4,5,2,3,6)