Islanders men's tennis moves up to No. 54 in latest ITA rankings

The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's tennis team reached its highest ranking of the year on Tuesday when the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) ranked them at No. 54 in the nation. The Islanders moved up seven sports from No. 61 ahead of their Tuesday evening match against No. 5 Texas.

"These guys have been working very hard, so I'm glad to see them being recognized," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "We're very motivated to keep moving up."

The team is 6-4 on the year and the ranking is the highest since they were ranked No. 35 following the HEB Tournament of Champions during the 2009 season.

The Islanders are in a very distinguished group, with No. 50 BYU, No. 51 Clemson, No. 52 DePaul and No. 53 LSU being ranked in front of them. The next six behind the team is No. 55 Cal Poly, No. 56 New Mexico State, No. 57 Princeton, No. 58 VCU, No. 59 Santa Clara and No. 60 Northwestern of the Big 10.

The Islanders will have plenty of opportunities to move up in the near future against No. 5 Texas on Tuesday night and this weekend at the 45th Annual HEB Tournament of Champions. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi will be facing some highly ranked competition. In addition to the No. 54 ranking for the host team, the tournament will feature No. 45 Maryland, No. 46 New Mexico, No. 50 BYU, No. 52 DePaul, Purdue, Middle Tennessee and Western Michigan.

"We want to at least be in that Top 40 range where you are vying to get into the NCAA Tournament based on your ranking, regardless of how you do in the conference tournament," said Moore. "Anything can happen in the conference tournament, so you want to take care of your business and get in based on your ranking.

"Ultimately though, those things are all just symptoms of a lot of hard work and taking care of the things you can control. That has to remain our mindset day in and day out."

The tournament will take place on Friday with matches starting at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Friday while the Saturday matches will begin at 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. only the final day of play.