TV: Longhorn Network: Sam Gore (play-by-play), Jon Wiegand (analyst)
CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's tennis team will face No. 6 Texas on Sunday at 6 p.m. in Austin on the Longhorn Network at Penick-Allison Tennis Center on the UT campus. The Islanders will return to the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center on Monday to host UT Arlington at 12 p.m.
"Texas is obviously a team we have tremendous respect for and have faced in big matches probably more than anyone else," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "They are consistently in that group of a few elite teams that compete for a national championship year in and year out.
"We have yet to win one but our team is getting better and better and we look forward at the opportunity to compete and fight with all of our hearts one point at a time."
The Islanders (8-4) have faced the Longhorns in the first round of the NCAA Championships twice in program history (2008, 2013). The two teams met twice last season, including in the first round of the NCAA Championships. In the first meeting in Austin, the Islanders came up short 6-1 against then No. 15 Texas. A&M - Corpus Christi's lone point of the day came from court four where Guillaume Rauseo picked up a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Ben Chen.
The Islanders and Longhorns met up again in the NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas, after the Islanders won the Southland Conference Tournament for the fourth time in the last six years to advance. Then the No. 59-ranked Islanders dropped a 4-0 loss to then No. 21 Texas. The Islanders dropped the doubles point before the Longhorns claimed wins on courts one, three and five.
The Longhorns will face UT Arlington at 12 p.m. on Sunday before facing the Islanders at 6 p.m. Texas comes into the match vs. the Mavericks with a 9-2 record after wins against No. 15 Vanderbilt, No. 19 Wake Forest, No. 4 Georgia, No. 11 California, SMU, Rice, Alabama, Michigan and Arkansas. The only two losses of the season for the Longhorns have come against No. 22 Illinois on the road and against No. 5 Ohio State in Houston.
Texas has three players ranked in the ITA singles rankings. Lloyd Glasspool is ranked at No. 29, George Goldhoff holds a No. 32 ranking and Søren Hess-Olesen is ranked at No. 53. The Longhorns have two pairs of doubles teams ranked in the ITA doubles rankings. The duo of Glasspool and Olesen are ranked at No. 7 while the tandem of Goldhoff and Jacoby Lewis are ranked at No. 27.
Highlighting the Islanders team is Peter Nagy, who is on an eight-match winning streak in singles play. The junior is powering the men's team with a 9-1 record in No. 1 singles while Rauseo is 8-2 in singles play, including a 7-1 record at No. 3 singles. Rauseo is on a seven-match winning streak. In doubles play, the freshman-senior duo of Matt Westmoreland and Paul Cook come into Sunday's match with a 4-1 record in the No. 2 spot. As a team the Islanders are 37-21 in singles play and 11-7 in doubles action this season.
"It is extremely beneficial to our team's progress and development to have an opportunity to play a top 10 team on the road," Moore added. "We are extremely excited about this opportunity to compete on national television."
On Monday, the Islanders will host UT Arlington at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center at 12 p.m. The Mavericks (3-4) will face the Longhorns on Sunday prior to the Islanders' match. This season, UTA has wins against Cameron, Midwestern State and UTPA, while dropping losses to Rice, Lamar, ULL and TCU.
The last time the Islanders and Mavericks met up was on March 28, 2012, in Arlington. The Islanders grinded out a 4-3 victory to improve to 28-1 in Southland Conference play since 2008. A&M - Corpus Christi secured the doubles point with wins in the No. 1 and No. 3 spots and garnered three singles wins, including two first-set tiebreakers to seal the win. The only two Islanders to return from the lineup are captains Westmoreland and Nagy.
Following Monday's home match, the Islanders will host the prestigious HEB Tournament of Championships on Feb. 28 and March 1 at the HEB Tennis Center and the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. SMU, Tulane, Louisiana-Lafayette, DePaul, Western Michigan, South Alabama and UTSA are all scheduled to compete. Last season, the Islanders clinched their first ever HEB Tournament of Champions title. The team won a gutsy 4-3 match over then No. 34 Middle Tennessee in the finals, taking home the first title in the event that has been held every year since 1966 and been sponsored by HEB.
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