CORPUS CHRISTI – The current crop of Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Tennis players held serve on Saturday afternoon, taking down the Islanders alumni in the TennisRecycle.com Alumni Match at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center.
In a first for the tennis program, TennisRecycle.com and owner Bert Devera provided the title sponsorship for the annual alumni match.
"Our team is extremely grateful to Bert Devera and TennisRecycle.com for sponsoring this event and making this such a special experience for our student-athletes," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "We also want to thank Marco & Co. Catering for their constant support and providing lunch to the alumni and staff today."
Despite a feisty effort on both the men's and women's side, the current players came out on top, with the men taking a 4-2 final and the women winning 6-0 against the former Islanders.
"It is amazing to see all these Islander legends back," said Moore. "They are still such incredible competitors and play at such a high level. These girls and guys were just so special and meant so much to this program. Their hard work and commitment to team got this program nationally recognized, and they will always have a very special place in the heart of our program."
Competing for the alumni team were Islander legends Jason Holland and Alex Johansson, the first two Islanders ever in any sport. Moore earned the commitments from both players while finishing the season out at Texas Tech in the spring 1998 after accepting the task of starting the Islanders Tennis program.
On the men's side, former Islanders Goncalo Figueiredo and Aurelien Tave won in doubles against Peter Nagy and Odon Barta by an 8-6 final. The other doubles match saw Andrew Maingot and Matt Westmoreland win 8-5 over Holland and Johansson. Each doubles match counted as one point, so the teams went to singles tied at 1-1.
There, Peter Nagy won at the No. 1 position, taking a 6-1, 6-2 final over Joey Farias, while Westmoreland avenged his loss in last year's Islanders Open with a 4-6, 7-5, 10-7 win over Tave at the No. 2 position.
Former Islanders player and current assistant coach Figueiredo, 31, won his singles match over Barta by a 6-2, 6-4 score, holding on late despite battling cramps in the second set of a 2.5 hour singles match that followed doubles. In the final men's singles matches, Pietro Jordao topped Johansson by a 7-6 (8-6), 7-5 final at No. 4, while Javier Pujol won 6-4, 6-4 over Holland, a former assistant coach and player for the Islanders.
On the women's side, it was a sweep by current players, but the alumni battled hard throughout the day.
In doubles, both matches came down to the very end, with Sandra Burges and Maider Martin winning 8-6 over Carlotta Santos and Erica Iriarte, while Leanne Mascall and Stefania Nicolae also took an 8-6 final over Alexandra Dyckman and Megan Harless.
The women's players competed in eight-game pro set matches for singles, with Martin taking an 8-5 win over Dyckman at the top position. Burges won 8-6 over Santos at No. 2, Nicolae picked up an 8-5 final over Iriarte and Mascall won 8-6 over Harless, another current assistant coach and former player competing for the group of alumni.
"We have some very young Islanders and I think these alumni were great role models for them," said Moore. "They really showed them a lot about competing at an elite level.
"I'm very proud of these young Islander teams, they are working very hard a really developing. They're making a lot of good choices with their work ethic and commitment to team."
Next up for the Islanders will be another exhibition, with the Blue/Green match that pits current players against one another coming next Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center.
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