HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The nationally-ranked Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's tennis team came up short on Tuesday afternoon in a 4-1 final in Hattiesburg, Miss. against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
"Give Southern Miss a lot of credit, they really fought hard and played a high quality match," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "They've really revamped their team with some great new players.
"I think you will see them have a lot of success this year; they've done some high quality work over there."
The Islanders are now 4-5 on the season after the setback. The Golden Eagles are now 4-2 on the year, with the two losses coming against SEC competition in Ole Miss and Auburn.
"Certainly we would like to have Matt, he brings a grittiness and toughness to our team, and we miss him, but that's no excuse at all," said Moore. "We have guys capable of getting it done if they max out and we max out as coaches."
In doubles action, Aurelien Tave and Jordao fell in an 8-3 match at the No. 2 position, while Gergo Weidinger and Peter Nagy lost an 8-5 final at No. 1 doubles. Nathan Robinson and Alex Pavlov were locked in a tough 7-6 match at No. 3 when the doubles point was clinch and ended unfinished.
"We were up a break towards the end of No. 1 and 3 doubles the doubles point right on our racket and let it slip away," said Moore. "That would have made a real difference, as it looked like we were coming back at No. 1 and 3 singles.
"These matches come down to a few small points whenever two good teams play. We certainly had our opportunities, but we didn't rise up and take them. It hurts to be up a break at No. 1 and 3 doubles late in a pro set and lose. Today, the other team rose up an took it, that is always hard to swallow as a coach."
In singles, Fernando Llorens was tripped up at No. 4 to put USM up by a 2-0 margin. Robinson cut the lead in half at 2-1 after taking a 6-0, 6-1 final at the No 5 spot. Weidinger lost a 6-3, 6-1 final at No. 3, and Jordao fell 6-3, 7-5 at No. 6 to complete the scoring.
Nagy was battling in the third at a 1-6, 6-1, 3-3 score at No. 1, and Tave was leading in the third at No. 2 singles at 2-6, 6-1, 3-1 when play was stopped.
Next up for the Islanders will be a men and women's doubleheader on Thursday afternoon against Louisiana – Lafayette. The teams are set to start play at 12 p.m. in Lafayette.
"We have good character, but we're very young," said Moore. "We have to understand how to be savvy at key points in the match, and it's our job as coaches to teach them that.
"They say you're either winning or you're learning, and today we did some learning. It's a long season, and it's better to learn these lessons now than at the end."
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Southern Miss 4, #75 Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 1
2/14/2012 at Hattiesburg, Miss. (USM Tennis Courts)
1. Matt Frost (USMM) vs. Peter Nagy (AMCC) 6-1, 1-6, 4-2, unfinished
2. Paulo Alvarado (USMM) vs. Aurelien Tave (AMCC) 6-2, 1-6, 1-3, unfinished
3. Juan Escobar (USMM) def. Gergo Weidinger (AMCC) 6-3, 6-1
4. Inaki Belloso (USMM) def. Fernando Llorens (AMCC) 6-0, 6-0
5. Nathan Robinson (AMCC) def. Jovan Zeljkovic (USMM) 6-0, 6-1
6. Andrew Goodwin (USMM) def. Pietro Jordao (AMCC) 6-3, 7-5
1. Matt Frost/Inaki Belloso (USMM) def. Gergo Weidinger/Peter Nagy (AMCC) 8-5
2. Paulo Alvarado/Juan Escobar (USMM) def. Aurelien Tave/Pietro Jordao (AMCC) 8-3
3. Andrew Goodwin/Michael Elortegui (USMM) vs. Nathan Robinson/Alex Pavlov (AMCC) 7-6, unfinished
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 4-5; National ranking #75
Southern Miss 4-2
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (4,5,3,6)