LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Men's Tennis team fought until the end, but came up just short in a 5-2 thriller at the New Mexico State Aggies campus on Saturday afternoon. Next up for the team will be a Monday night match against the New Mexico Lobos in Albuquerque.
The Islanders (0-1) lost their season opener in a match that went down to the wire, with the team holding an early advantage before the Aggies (1-0) battled back on their home court to take the match. The team is one of the youngest in the nation, with five freshmen on the 10-player roster, and two more of the 10 being sophomores.
"Give credit to New Mexico State, this was a tough, tough battle, but they outfought us today on their home courts," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "I thought we competed extremely hard, and definitely had our chances to win. This match will be a match that we see a lot this year, a perennial nationally ranked team where we will have to play every point tough and smart, and give away nothing to win."
The match looked like it was going the Islanders way right out of the gate, with Andrew Maingot and Gergo Weidinger quickly taking an 8-3 final over Daniel Fernandez and Naveen Manivannan at No. 3 doubles. The No. 2 doubles match went the Aggies way, with Pietro Jordao and Matt Westmoreland falling 8-3 against Germaine Degardin and Yannick Blank. In the No. 1 doubles spot, Peter Nagy and Odon Barta were serving at 6-5 against Luis Ramirez and Marc Westgate, but New Mexico State capitalized on the new, no-advantage point that is now played at deuce to even up the match, and then broke serve at 7-6 to win the doubles point for a 1-0 lead.
The Islanders again looked very good early on in singles play, with Nagy, Weidinger and Guillaume Rauseo all winning their first sets quickly, while Jordao was up 4-0 at No. 6 singles. Nagy would go on to take a 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Westgate, while Weidinger won 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 against Fernandez to finish the scoring for the Islanders.
Westmoreland lost a 6-3, 6-3 final at No. 2 singles, Barta fell 6-1, 6-3 at No. 4, Rauseo was unable to finish his match off, suffering a 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 final at No. 5, and Jordao lost a tough one in a first-set tiebreak before absorbing a 7-6, 6-2 defeat at No. 6 singles.
"They say you're either winning or you're learning," said Moore. "I thought these young guys fought their tails off, but we need to get a little smarter and more savvy at key times. That's our job as coaches to see how quickly we can get them there."
Next up for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi is a match against New Mexico, another team that is annually ranked in the ITA Top 75. That match is scheduled for a 5 p.m. CST start on Monday evening in Albuquerque.
"The next match will also be extremely tough," said Moore. "I tell the guys it's like a boxing match. That was round one, you sure as heck better be ready to fight round two. Hopefully each round you get a little tougher and smarter. These guys have very good character, and I'm excited our next match. "
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Texas A&M - Corpus Christi vs New Mexico State
01/19/2013 at Las Cruces, N.M.
New Mexico State 5, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 2
1. Peter Nagy (AMCC) def. Marc Westgate (NMSU) 6-2, 3-6, 6-1
2. Luis Ramirez (NMSU) def. Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) 6-3, 6-3
3. Gergo Weidinger (AMCC) def. Daniel Fernandez (NMSU) 6-3, 1-6, 6-2
4. Germaine Degardin (NMSU) def. Odon Barta (AMCC) 6-1, 6-3
5. Paul Denele (NMSU) def. Guillaume Rauseo (AMCC) 1-6, 6-4, 6-4
6. Patrick Pfister (NMSU) def. Pietro Jordao (AMCC) 7-6, 6-2
1. Luis Ramirez/Marc Westgate (NMSU) def. Peter Nagy/Odon Barta (AMCC) 8-6
2. Germaine Degardin/Yannick Blank (NMSU) def. Pietro Jordao/Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) 8-3
3. Gergo Weidinger/Andrew Maingot (AMCC) def. Daniel Fernandez/Naveen Manivannan (NMSU) 8-3
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 0-1
New Mexico State 1-0