CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's tennis team returns to the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center for a pair of pivotal Southland Conference matches starting Thursday, April 10. The Islanders will host first-year Southland member Incarnate Word on Thursday at 1 p.m. before hosting Nicholls on Friday, April 11, at 12 p.m.
"We have two home matches coming up, so we have to be ready for every guy to max out with great attitude and great effort every point, no exceptions," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said.
The Islanders are on a quest to win their seventh Southland Conference title. The men's team has lost just one regular-season Southland Conference match in the last eight years since Coach Moore returned to take over the men's team in 2007.
The Islanders (13-9, 2-0 SLC) are coming off a 6-1 conference road win over Lamar on Tuesday. A&M - Corpus Christi garnered the doubles point before Peter Nagy, Ricardo Mayagoitia, Javier Pujol, Matt Westmoreland and Paul Cook each secured singles wins to help the Islanders earn their second Southland victory of the season.
Leading the Islanders in singles play this season has been Nagy, the reigning Southland Conference Player of the Year. The junior enters Thursday's match with a 14-3 record in No. 1 singles and a 2-0 mark in conference play. In his three years, Nagy has only dropped one singles match in the Southland.
Mayagoitia has also had a solid season in singles play with a 10-6 mark at No. 2 singles and a 2-0 record in the conference. Along with Nagy's and Mayagoitia's performances, Pujol has tallied an 11-9 mark and a 2-0 conference record in singles play. On Tuesday, the Barcelona, Spain native clinched the match for the Islanders for his first win at No. 3 singles.
In doubles play, the duo of Nagy and Guillaume Rauseo are on a two-match winning streak at No. 1 doubles and have registered a 6-5 overall mark and a 1-0 record in the conference. On Tuesday against Lamar, Mayagoitia and Pujol teamed up for the first time this season at No. 3 doubles to earn their first Southland victory of the season, 8-1.
Incarnate Word enters Thursday's match on a three-match winning streak for a 13-4 record and a 1-2 mark in Southland play. In conference action, the Cardinals topped New Orleans, 5-2, and have dropped matches to Nicholls and Abilene Christian. Jair Assuncao propels UIW in singles play with a 13-3 dual match record at No. 1 singles and Brandon Davis is on a six-match winning streak for a 12-5 singles dual mark. In No. 1 doubles, the pair of Leonard Ivic and Josip Smoljan have teamed up for a 9-6 record.
It will mark the Islanders first meeting with the Cardinals under Coach Moore.
The Islanders will continue Southland play at home on Friday at 12 p.m. against Nicholls, who will enter the match with an 11-9 mark, including a 4-1 record in conference play. The Colonels are coming off a 4-3 loss to Abilene Christian on Saturday. Prior to that, that team won two straight conference matches against Incarnate Word and Lamar. The Colonels have also picked up Southland wins against New Orleans and Oral Roberts this season.
Nico Mertens leads the team in singles play with a 13-3 record, including a 5-0 mark in conference play. Partha Adavelly and Bernard Wezeman have also tallied a 5-0 conference mark in singles play. In doubles action, Adavelly and Mertens have teamed up for a 7-3 overall mark and a 1-0 record in the conference.
The last time the Islanders and Colonels met up was last season on April 9 in Beaumont, Texas. Then the No. 57-ranked Islanders topped the Colonels, 5-2, despite dropping the doubles point. Returners Nagy, Mayagoitia, Pujol, Westmoreland and Pietro Jordao all secured their singles matches in straight sets.
Following Friday's match, the Islanders will join the women's team in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday, April 16, to take on first-year Southland member Abilene Christian in a neutral-site conference match at 10 a.m. This is a makeup match that was originally scheduled for March 10, but because of rain was postponed.
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