CORPUS CHRISTI – Freshman Paul Cook squeezed out a 7-4 tiebreaker in the second set to lift the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's tennis team to a 4-3 victory over UT Arlington today at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center.
"Great courage and resiliency from our team today," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "This last week has been a tough journey being on the road a lot. We dug a hole for ourselves with some bad choices, but we really showed a lot of courage to dig out. UT Arlington is a very, very good young team and they deserved to win today just as much as we did. This was simply a great college tennis match between two teams that fought very, very hard. I can't speak highly enough of this Corpus Christi crowd and the heart and soul that they bring to our team. Simply love our fans."
The Islanders (9-5) fell behind early 1-0 after the Mavericks (3-6) secured the doubles point with wins on courts one and two. Matt Westmoreland and Paul Cook dropped just their second match of the year in No. 2 doubles with an 8-3 loss to Marek Pesicka and Sebastian Erimicioiu. In No. 1 doubles, the UTA duo of Javier Perez and Carlos Arbiza topped Peter Nagy and Guillaume Rauseo 8-4. The freshman-junior duo of Pietro Jordao and Philip Kuehnen teamed up for the first time this season in No. 3 doubles and were up 6-4 on Austin Robles and Danie Armengol when play was stopped.
Nagy answered with a straight-set victory in No. 1 singles to get the Islanders on the board and even the match at 1-1. The junior and co-captain downed Pesicka 6-1, 6-0, to improve to 10-2 in the No. 1 spot. He has now won nine of his last 10 matches in singles play.
"Peter Nagy was a great leader today," Moore said. "He came out and did what great leaders do. He set the tone of intensity by his example."
UTA answered back with a win in No. 3 singles to push ahead 2-1. Armengol topped Rauseo 6-2, 7-5 for the Mavericks second point of the day. However, sophomore Javier Pujol showed a lot of fight to capture the Islanders' second point of the day over Mario Muniesa in the No. 5 position. Pujol fell behind 3-5 in the first set before climbing back to win four straight games to notch the 7-5 win. In the second, the two stayed even early on until Pujol took the next two games to win 6-4 and record his first win in No. 5 singles and knot the match at 2-2.
"I thought Javier showed a lot of courage today," Moore said. "That's another young player who is really learning."
Ricardo Mayagoitia then answered with a three-set victory over Arbiza in No. 2 singles to put the Islanders in front 3-2. The sophomore dropped the first set 6-3, but recovered to edge Arbiza in the second set 7-5 to force a third set. In the third, Mayagoitia fell behind 3-2 before winning the next four games to win, 6-3.
The Mavericks battled back to even the match at 3-3 after a three-set win in No. 4 singles. Westmoreland came out and dominated the first set 6-4 before falling 7-6 (5) in a tough tiebreaker to Erimicioiu. In the third, the senior led early at 3-2 but Erimicioiu won four straight games to win the set 6-3.
With the match tied at 3-3, it all came down to Cook in No. 6 singles. The freshman topped Francesco Migliano 6-4 in the first, and built a 5-4 lead in the second set, before Migliano won the next two games to move ahead 6-5. Cook then garnered the next game to force the tiebreaker. With his teammates and the Corpus Christi community cheering him on, the Petts Wood, England native grabbed the 7-4 tiebreaker win to clinch the match for the Islanders.
"Paul Cook and Ricardo Mayagoitia showed incredible grit today," Moore added. "Those guys are maturing so fast. They listen and they really compete hard. Along with Javier, these guys' best tennis is ahead of them."
The Islanders will next be in action when they 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.
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Tennis Match Results
UT Arlington vs. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi
2/24/2014 at Corpus Christi, Texas
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 4, UT Arlington 3
1. Peter Nagy (AMCC) def. Marek Pesicka (UTA) 6-1, 6-0
2. Ricardo Mayagoitia (AMCC) def. Carlos Arbiza (UTA) 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
3. Danie, Armengol (UTA) def. Guillaume Rauseo (AMCC) 6-2, 7-5
4. Sebastian Erimicioiu (UTA) def. Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
5. Javier Pujol (AMCC) def. Mario Muniesa (UTA) 7-5, 6-4
6. Paul Cook (AMCC) def. Francesco Migliano (UTA) 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)
1. Javier Perez/Carlos Arbiza (UTA) def. Peter Nagy/Guillaume Rauseo (AMCC) 8-4
2. Marek Pesicka/Sebastian Erimicioiu (UTA) def. Matt Westmoreland/Paul Cook (AMCC) 8-3
3. Pietro Jordao/Philip Kuehnen (AMCC) vs. Austin Robles/Danie, Armengol (UTA) 6-4, unfinished
UT Arlington 3-6
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 9-5
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (1,3,5,2,4,6)