Nicolae, Robinson Shine Against Big 12 Opponents on First Day of ITA Texas Regionals
The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Men's and Women's Tennis Teams completed day one of the ITA Texas Regionals on Friday, picking up wins in both the singles and doubles brackets on both sides. Stefania Nicolae won two main draw matches against opponents from Texas and Texas A&M while Nathan Robinson took a main draw match over a player from Texas Tech to advance to the third round.
"Stefania has improved so much and has really become very mentally tough and mature," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "Nathan is very much the same, he has become very poised in the tough situations and has become extremely mentally tough."
The men are playing at the College Station Regional hosted by Texas A&M while the women are in the Ft. Worth Regional at TCU.
On the men's side, Robinson received a bye to the second round and took down Jeff Bryan of Texas Tech 7-6 (3), 7-5 to advance to the round of 32 where he will face No. 4-seed Mate Zsiga of Baylor on Saturday. Aurelien Tave won his opening round match against Rob Lee of Lamar by a 6-4, 6-3 final before falling to No. 9-seed Ben Chen of Texas by a 6-4, 6-4 score. Islanders Pietro Jordao, Matt Westmoreland and Andrew Maingot fell in the first round of action at the tournament. Westmoreland lost his consolation round match, while Maingot will face Joe Hattrup of SMU and Jordao will take on Marton Horvath of Lamar in Saturday action.
In doubles play, Tave and Jordao beat Shane Kyral and Chetan Panditi of Texas – Pan American by an 8-4 score to advance to the round of 16 to square off against No. 4-seed Alexis Klegou and Junior Ore of Texas A&M on Saturday afternoon. Robinson and Maingot lost an 8-4 final to Alberto Baustista and Jackson Withrow of Texas A&M in the round of 32.
"We've got a young team that's got a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we've got good character and we're really developing," said Moore. "This tournament is an absolute dogfight, and the Texas region, in my opinion, is the toughest in the nation.
"Last year, there were eight teams that cracked the Top 60 and four in the Top 10 in the nation."
Texas A&M – Corpus Christi was one of those teams, reaching No. 54 in all of Division I last year, winning the Southland Conference Regular Season and Tournament Titles to advance to the NCAA Championships.
The women's team featured two wins over players from Big 12 powers Texas and Texas A&M.
Nicolae won her opening match by a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 final over Maya Zein-El-Abdin of Texas and moved past the second round with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Sheri Oliver of Texas A&M. She will face No. 7-seed Edyta Cieplucha of SMU in the round of 32 on Saturday.
In other singles action, Sandra Burges lost a 6-2, 6-3 final against Rebecca Calvillo of UTEP in the first round while Mirna Cicak fell in a tough 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 match against Elena Kordolaimi of Stephen F. Austin.
LeAnne Mascall suffered a 6-2, 6-3 setback against Lauren Santacroce of Texas A&M while Mia Matuszak lost 6-2, 6-1 against Baylor's Megan Horter and Chelsea Horan fell 7-5, 6-2 against Marie LeBlond of UTEP in the opening round.
In doubles action, Cicak and Nicolae beat Maja Kazimieruk and Liselot Koenen of Houston 8-5 in the first round before falling by an 8-2 final against No. 3-seeded Diana Nakic and Jordaan Sanford of Baylor in round two.
Burges and Matuszak won their opening match by a 9-8 score over Malin Anderson and Wanda Beguelin of UTPA before falling 8-4 against Melissa Hadad and Jessica Kahts of Texas State. Horan and Mascall lost 8-3 against Calvillo and Martina Trierweiler of UTEP in their opening round match.
"We have a lot of hard work to do," said Moore. "We have to stay in present, keep chopping wood and improve each and every day.
"This tournament really lets us know what things we need to improve and how much hard work we have ahead of us."
Play for the Islanders will continue throughout the weekend at their respective regionals.
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