HOUSTON – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Men's Tennis team, ranked No. 53 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Rankings, battled, but came up short by a 4-1 score in its upset bid against No. 33 Oregon in the opening round of the Rice Team Invitational on Friday. The team will play Radford at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Jake Hess Tennis Stadium.
The Islanders (7-6), who are ranked No. 53 in the nation with five freshmen and a sophomore in their top eight players, saw their six-match win streak snapped against the Ducks (13-1), who reached their highest national ranking ever this past week. The team held leads in both remaining matches when play was stopped due to the match being clinched.
"We lost to a very good team today," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "In my opinion, their level is of a Top 20 team rather than of No. 33. To beat a team of this level, we just need to be 10 percent smarter at those pivotal times late in sets."
Moore is very familiar with the Top 25 level, having coached three separate teams (SMU, Texas Tech and Texas A&M) that have reached the Top 25 in the nation, and two other teams that reached the Top 40 (SMU Women and Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Men) during his collegiate coaching career.
"We were right there with chances to win this dual match," said Moore. "I felt we competed extremely hard, but give them credit, they were just a little tougher today. What we need to do, match in and match out, is compete with this same level of intensity
In doubles action, Andrew Maingot and Matt Westmoreland lost an 8-2 final at No. 3, while Peter Nagy and Gergo Weidinger fell by an 8-6 score at No. 1 to give Oregon the opening point in the match. Odon Barta and Guillaume Rauseo were battling at No. 2 doubles, but the match went unfinished when the point was clinched.
In singles action, Ricardo Mayagoitia lost a 6-1, 6-2 final at No. 4 to make it 2-0, but Nagy played great tennis at No. 1, winning 6-1, 6-4 to get the Islanders on the board at 2-1. Westmoreland lost a 6-2, 6-2 decision at No. 3 to make it 3-1, and Weidinger fell by a 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 tally at No. 3 to complete the match.
Javier Pujol had earned a first set win at No. 5 singles, but the match went unfinished at 6-4, 3-5 for the freshman when play was stopped. Likewise at No 6, Rauseo held a lead in the third set at 6-4, 2-6, 2-1 when the match went final.
"Against a team like this, you can't give anything away, absolutely nothing, and I feel our young guys are learning that," said Moore. "Just three of four loose points means you lose the set 7-6 instead of win by a 7-6 final. That's what I feel our teams are learning to do, to play each point separately and incredibly tough, and not ever give away even one loose point. That is our goal every match."
The team will have another test on Saturday, taking on Radford at 9 a.m. on Saturday in the first match of the day. The Highlanders are on a road swing through Texas, with the team losing to SMU, but earning wins over Southland member Lamar and one over former Southland opponent UT Arlington.
"We have to play confident and we have to play free, but we can't give anything away," said Moore. "Just three or four loose points out of 150 make the difference when you start playing teams at this level. You just have to play every point as tough as you can, and realize that every point is a big point.
"I'm very proud of the way these guys competed. We get rid of those three or four loose points a set, and we'll be ready to beat a team at this level."
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Tennis Match Results
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi vs Oregon
03/15/13 at Houston, Texas
#33 Oregon 4, #53 Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 1
1. #103 Peter Nagy (AMCC) def. Jeff Mullen (OREGON) 6-1, 6-4
2. Robin Cambier (OREGON) def. Gergo Weidinger (AMCC) 7-6 (7-4), 6-4
3. Alex Rovello (OREGON) def. Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) 6-2, 6-2
4. Daan Maasland (OREGON) def. Ricardo Mayagoitia (AMCC) 6-1, 6-2
5. Daniel Sardu (OREGON) vs. Javier Pujol (AMCC) 4-6, 5-3, unfinished
6. Lova Randriamampandr (OREGON) vs. Guillaume Rauseo (AMCC) 4-6, 6-2, 1-2, unfinished
1. Jeff Mullen/Robin Cambier (OREGON) def. Gergo Weidinger/Peter Nagy (AMCC) 8-6
2. Alex Rovello/Daan Maasland (OREGON) vs. Odon Barta/Guillaume Rauseo (AMCC) 7-5, unfinished
3. Aaron Clissold/Daniel Sardu (OREGON) def. Matt Westmoreland/Andrew Maingot (AMCC) 8-2
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 7-6; National ranking #53
Oregon 13-1; National ranking #33
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (4,1,3,2)