March 21, 2011

No. 41 Rice bests No. 60 men's tennis at 53rd Rice Invitational

HOUSTON, Texas - The No. 60 Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's tennis team suffered a 4-0 loss to No. 41 Rice at the 53rd Rice Invitational on Sunday at the Jake Hess Tennis Center. The team lost 4-1 to Central Florida on Friday and 4-1 against No. 50 South Florida on Saturday in the tournament.

"We fought our tails off this weekend against three very high-level teams," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "We did a very good job of competing; these guys never quit fighting for a second.

"We played three NCAA Tournament level teams and took it down to the wire in all three, so this is a very good learning experience for us.

The Islanders record moves to 9-9 on the year with the loss. Rice, who has been ranked as high as No. 22 this year and currently sits at No. 41 in the national rankings, improves to 12-4 on the year with the win.

In doubles action, Matt Westmoreland and Robert Raguz lost an 8-4 final at No. 3. Laurent Montoisy and Gergo Weidinger battled at No. 1 doubles, reaching match point before absorbing a 9-8 (8-6) loss to give Rice the doubles point. Aurelien Tave and James Langford had just broken Rice to take an 8-7 lead in the No. 2 doubles match when the point was clinched.

"Against these top, nationally-ranked teams, you only get a few chances so you have to take them," said Moore. "We were right in it, but we didn't quite take our opportunities.

"We're not far off, we just need to improve on a few things and we're eager to do that."

In singles, Westmoreland dropped a 6-2, 6-3 final at No. 5 singles as Rice jumped out to a 2-0 advantage. Raguz fell 7-5, 6-4 in the No. 4 position to put Rice in position to clinch the match before Langford lost 6-2, 6-3 to finish the match at 4-0 in favor of the host team.

"They say you're either winning or you're learning," said Moore. "We learned a lot this weekend about the things we need to improve if we want to win matches against NCAA tournament level teams.

"So long as you compete extremely hard, these types of weekends can be very good for a team in the big scheme of your year. You leave extremely motivated to improve things and you know if you improve just a few little things, you're capable of winning these matches."

Montoisy was behind 6-2, 5-4 at No. 1 singles when play was stopped while Tave was trailing 7-6 (12-10), 3-2 and Nathan Robinson trailed 7-6 (7-4), 2-1 at the end of play.

"The morale is still very high with this group and we are eager to work on these things," said Moore. "Now it's all about conference play."

Next up for the Islanders is a March 28 Southland Conference match against UT Arlington. The contest is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start at the Corpus Christi Country Club.

"This is a high-character group," said Moore. "I promise you they'll keep chopping wood.

Tennis Match Results

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi vs Rice

3/20/2011 at Houston, TX

#41 Rice 4, #60 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 0

Singles competition:

1. #87 Harry Fowler (RICE) vs. Laurent Montoisy (AMCC) 6-2, 5-4, unfinished

2. Oscar Podlewski (RICE) def. James Langford (AMCC) 6-2, 6-3

3. Sam Garforth-Bles (RICE) vs. Aurelien Tave (AMCC) 7-6 (12-10), 3-2, unfinished

4. Christian Saravia (RICE) def. Robert Raguz (AMCC) 7-5, 6-4

5. Michael Nuesslein (RICE) def. Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) 6-2, 6-3

6. Jonathan Chang (RICE) vs. Nathan Robinson (AMCC) 7-6 (7-4), 2-1, unfinished

Doubles competition:

1. Harry Fowler/Oscar Podlewski (RICE) def. Gergo Weidinger/Laurent Montoisy (AMCC) 9-8 (8-6)

2. Michael Nuesslein/Philipp Seifert (RICE) vs. Aurelien Tave/James Langford (AMCC) 7-8, unfinished

3. Sam Garforth-Bles/Christian Saravia (RICE) def. Matt Westmoreland/Robert Raguz (AMCC) 8-4

Match Notes:

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 9-9; National ranking #60

Rice 12-4; National ranking #41

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

53rd Rice Invitational