SAN ANTONIO, Texas - The No. 75 Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's tennis team finds itself in a familiar place after a 4-0 win over the Lamar Cardinals on Saturday in the Southland Conference Men's Tennis Championship. The win puts the team into the tournament finals against host UTSA on Sunday beginning at 10 a.m. on the courts of the UTSA Tennis Center.
"Today was one of our most focused matches of the year," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "Some guys have really decided that they are going to play a certain style and that paid dividends for them today."
The Islanders improve to 14-9 on the season with the win while the Cardinals finish the season with a 9-12 record. The team will be looking to win the tournament for the third time in the last four seasons after being ineligible to compete last season while looking to secure a bid to the NCAA Championships.
The match started with the top-seeded Texas A&M - Corpus Christi taking two doubles matches for an early 1-0 lead. Laurent Montoisy and Gergo Weidinger grabbed an 8-4 victory at No. 1 doubles to put their team ahead. Aurelien Tave and James Langford finished the portion of the match with another 8-4 final at the No. 2 position.
In singles, Montoisy did another masterful job of play at the No. 1 spot, taking a 6-0, 6-1 final to put his team ahead by a 2-0 count.
Freshman Matt Westmoreland learned from the first time he played Dusan Savkovic to take a two-set win. The first time the two met, Westmoreland fell behind by a 5-0 count in the opening set before rallying to win. This time he wasted no time, taking the first set without giving up a game and adding to the team lead with a 6-0, 6-3 win for a 3-0 Islanders advantage.
That setup the final point from Langford who after falling behind early in his match, rallied for a first-set win in tiebreak and closed out the semifinal with a 7-6 (7-2), 6-1 win at No. 2 singles.
"James Langford was awesome today in singles and doubles," said Moore. "He's been a leader for us for four years and he has always risen up when we needed him to and he did the same thing today.
"Laurent Montoisy did exactly the same thing; he just led and rose up."
The Islanders lost just one set the entire day and were on the verge of winning in two-of-three unfinished matches.
Tave nearly finished before play was stopped as his match went unfinished at 6-3, 5-1. Weidinger also played a match that went unfinished with a 6-0, 5-5 score. The final match saw Robert Raguz fall in set one but rally to nearly even the match at 5-7, 5-5 when play was halted.
"I was incredibly pleased with the courage Aurelien Tave showed today," said Moore. "Matt Westmoreland, Robert Raguz and Gergo Weidinger played some of their best tennis of the year today."
The Cardinals battled however, as Weidinger was ahead 5-2 and on the brink of clinching the match when his opponent, Diego Snyder, rallied to tie it at 5-5 in the second.
"I have a lot of respect for Lamar," said Moore. "I think their new coach has done a great job.
"I was sad to see Diego Snyder's last match, he's been a special player that I've always had an extra respect for. It was an honor to coach against such a high-character kid like him."
Now Texas A&M - Corpus Christi must face its final regular-season opponent on their home court for the second time in three matches. In the first meeting, the Islanders took a tough 4-3 match to win the Southland Conference Championship for the regular season.
"We know tomorrow's match is going to be an absolute down-to-the-wire battle; it was like that last time and it's always like that when these two teams play," said Moore. "I think there is great deal of mutual respect between both teams and we better bring our best one point at-a-time tomorrow."
Due to weather concerns, the match has been moved up two hours for a 10 a.m. start. Admission to the championship final is free to the public. Updates throughout the match will also be available by visiting the official Izzy the Islander Facebook and Twitter pages.
Tennis Match Results
Lamar vs Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
4/30/2011 at San Antonio, Texas
#75 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 4, Lamar 0
1. Laurent Montoisy (AMCC) def. Denis Ermilov (LAMAR) 6-0, 6-1
2. James Langford (AMCC) def. Robert Lee (LAMAR) 7-6 (7-2), 6-1
3. Aurelien Tave (AMCC) vs. Carlos Valdenebro (LAMAR) 6-3, 5-1, unfinished
4. Robert Raguz (AMCC) vs. Marton Horvath (LAMAR) 5-7, 5-4, unfinished
5. Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) def. Dusan Savkovic (LAMAR) 6-0, 6-3
6. Gergo Weidinger (AMCC) vs. Diego Snyder (LAMAR) 6-0, 5-5, unfinished
1. Laurent Montoisy/Gergo Weidinger (AMCC) def. Denis Ermilov/Dusan Savkovic (LAMAR) 8-4
2. Aurelien Tave/James Langford (AMCC) def. Marton Horvath/Robert Lee (LAMAR) 8-4
3. Robert Raguz/Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) vs. Diego Snyder/Carlos Valdenebro (LAMAR) 6-7, unfinished
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 14-9; National ranking #75
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (1,5,2)
2011 Southland Conference Tournament Semifinals
Official: Chuck Scott T-2:50 A-315