ARLINGTON – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's tennis team scrapped their way to victory on Wednesday afternoon, taking a 4-3 final over UT Arlington in the opening Southland Conference match for the Islanders.
"A lot of guts and character today from these guys," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "We had to fight with all we had against a very good team.
"I have a lot of respect for UTA, and this match could have gone their way today. I really feel our fitness and will to win made a big difference at the end. This was just a flat-out fitness grind, but that's our philosophy."
The match is the 11th-straight win over a Southland Conference opponent for the Islanders, and the program has gone 28-1 in conference matches during the regular season and conference tournament since the 2008 season.
The win brings their record to 8-9 on the season, and 1-0 in Southland Conference play. UTA moves to 4-9 overall, 0-2 in league matches. Due to an earlier match against Nicholls that had to be rescheduled, the Islanders were playing in their first match against a conference opponent since winning the Southland Conference Tournament over UTSA last season in San Antonio.
In a match that had Peter Nagy playing with a cast on his hand, Pietro Jordao held out with an injury and Matt Westmoreland playing in just his second match since February 12, the Islanders survived on determination to start conference off with a win.
"I give these guys a lot of credit," said Moore. "There were no excuses about injuries; just old-school, get-it-done mentality"
The senior-junior duo of Nathan Robinson and Andrew Maingot started things off strong for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, taking an 8-2 final at No. 3. After Gergo Weidinger and Alex Pavlov fell 8-4 at No. 2 doubles, it was up to Aurelien Tave and Nagy to earn the point for the Islanders. They did just that, gritting out a 9-7 final to give their team a key point and a 1-0 lead.
"Doubles were incredibly tight, " said Moore. "I thought that Andrew Maingot and Nathan Robinson played some of the best doubles I have seen from our team all year, winning 8-2 at No. 3.
"There comes a point where things just really start to click for you, and you really start to understand and mature. That is what is happening with those guys, and they are playing extremely smart and savvy doubles."
In singles competition, the teams split the six matches, with the doubles point being the deciding factor between the opponents.
At No. 6 singles, Fernando Llorens picked up a 6-3, 6-2 victory for the Islanders second point of the match. Robinson earned a 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 final at No. 4 to push the match to the brink, while Tave clinched the win with a tough 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 score at No. 2 singles.
"Aurelien, Nathan and Fernando showed incredible grit in singles," said Moore. "I'm especially proud of Nathan, who has just taken his game mentally and physically to another level.
"This was just a very good team character win against a very good opponent."
Still working his way back to full speed after an injury, Westmoreland fell 7-5, 6-2 at No. 5 singles, while the cast limited Nagy in a 6-4, 6-1 final at No. 1 singles. Weidinger was unfortunate at No. 3 singles, taking a 6-2, 6-3 to round out the scoring on the day.
Next up for the Islanders will be a match on Tuesday, April 3, at Texas – Pan American. The teams are scheduled for a 2 p.m. start in Edinburg as Texas A&M – Corpus Christi looks for the second Southland win of the year.
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Tennis Match Results
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi vs UT Arlington
03/28/2012 at Arlington, Texas
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 4, UT Arlington 3
1. Mindaugus Celedenias (UTA) def. Peter Nagy (AMCC) 6-4, 6-1
2. Aurelien Tave (AMCC) def. Soren Goritzka (UTA) 7-6 (7-5), 6-2
3. Yauheni Yakuleu (UTA) def. Gergo Weidinger (AMCC) 6-2, 6-3
4. Nathan Robinson (AMCC) def. Nicolas Moreno (UTA) 7-6 (7-3), 6-2
5. David Subirats (UTA) def. Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) 7-5, 6-2
6. Fernando Llorens (AMCC) def. Stefan Williams (UTA) 6-3, 6-2
1. Aurelien Tave/Peter Nagy (AMCC) def. Mindaugus Celedenias/Soren Goritzka (UTA) 9-7
2. David Subirats/Yauheni Yakuleu (UTA) def. Gergo Weidinger/Alex Pavlov (AMCC) 8-4
3. Andrew Maingot/Nathan Robinson (AMCC) def. Nicolas Moreno/Stefan Williams (UTA) 8-2
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 8-9, 1-0 SLC
UT Arlington 4-9, 0-2 SLC