Islanders Tennis Readies for NCAA Championships
WOMEN'S TENNIS: TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (22-5, 11-1 SLC) AT NO. 13 BAYLOR (24-6, 10-0 BIG 12)
NCAA Championships Opening Round • Friday, May 9 • 7 p.m. • Hurd Tennis Center • Waco, Texas
MEN'S TENNIS: TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (19-9, 6-0 SLC) AT NO. 6 BAYLOR (23-5, 4-1 BIG 12)
NCAA Championships Opening Round • Saturday, May 10 • 2 p.m. • Hurd Tennis Center • Waco, Texas
CORPUS CHRISTI – For the first time in program history, the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's and women's tennis teams will both be heading to Waco, Texas, to compete in the Division I NCAA Championships at the Hurd Tennis Center. The Islanders are one of 39 universities in Division I to have both men's and women's tennis teams in the NCAA Championships.
"We're very proud to be taking two teams to the NCAA Championships," Eight-time Southland Conference Coach of the Year and Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "It means the world to us to see these special seniors get to go. This school and this community are very special to us, so it means the world to us to see the name of this great university and city in the NCAA national draw for both men and women.
"We have tremendous respect for Baylor. Obviously they are a perennial top-10 program in men and women year in and year out. We will approach this with the same mentality like we always have, not focus on results or outcome, but rather focus on the things we can control, competing for each point separately like a warrior, and maxing out on the things we can control, like effort, energy and team spirit. That is who we are and it never changes, regardless of where we go or who we play. I can tell you there's a lot of teams who work hard and deserve it, but none more than these Islanders players. To say I believe in them is an understatement. They are the highest-character kids a coach could ever dream of having. I believe in them with all of my heart. I can't wait for the chance to compete with these amazing high-character kids at the NCAAs."
For the first time in history, the Islanders women's team (22-5, 11-1 SLC) will kick things off on Friday, May 9, at 7 p.m. in the opening round of the Baylor Regional against Baylor (24-6, 10-0 Big 12), who won the Big 12 Championships.
The Islanders men's team (19-9, 6-0 SLC) will return to the championships for the second consecutive year and the fifth time in the last seven years. The Islanders will also face host Baylor (23-5, 4-1 Big 12), the Big 12 Champions, in the Baylor Regional. Doubles play will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, at the Hurd Tennis Center.
The Islanders women's team will make their first NCAA appearance in Islanders history after notching a program-best 22 wins and winning their first ever Southland Conference Tournament Championship. The Islanders have won seven straight and 16 of their last 17 matches. Powering the team this season has been Judit Vives, who earned First Team All-Conference, and Second Team All-Conference honoree Celia Rodriguez. Vives is on a 13-match winning streak and has compiled a 19-1 singles mark, including an impressive 7-0 mark at No. 2 singles.
Rodriguez will enter singles play on a 15-match winning streak and an overall mark of 22-3, including a perfect 18-0 record at No. 4 singles. Senior Sandra Burges has been playing outstanding in singles play and has won seven straight matches, including six in No. 5 singles. Burges is the Islanders all-time singles leader with a career mark of 62-21. This season she has compiled a 21-5 mark and a 15-2 mark in the No. 5 slot.
Freshman Kerry Galhos is on a six-match winning streak in singles play. She has secured a 13-1 record at No. 6 singles in her first year and holds an overall mark of 17-3. Maider Martin has also been solid in singles play with a 7-1 record at No. 3 singles and has won five consecutive matches.
In doubles play, the sophomore pair of Martin and Rodriguez are on a three-match winning streak at No. 2 doubles and have registered a 14-6 record this season.
The No. 13 ranked Lady Bears will come into Friday's competition with a 24-6 overall record with the help of three ITA ranked singles players and a pair of ranked doubles players. In the ITA singles rankings, Kiah Generette is ranked No. 40, Jordaan Sanford is ranked No. 46 and Ema Burgic holds a No. 81 ranking. Generette has collected a 21-15 overall mark, including a 12-10 mark at No. 1 singles, while Sanford is 17-2 in the No. 2 slot and Burgic stands at 12-5 in No. 2 singles. In doubles, the duo of Victoria Kisialeva and Blair Shankle are ranked No. 35 in the ITA doubles rankings with a 19-5 overall record, while the pair of Shankle and Alex Clay are ranked No. 84 with an 11-0 overall mark.
The Islanders and Lady Bears will meet for the first time in program history on Friday.
The men's team is on a seven-match winning streak and will return to the NCAA Championships after winning their second straight Southland Conference Tournament. Last season in the opening round of the NCAA Championships, the Islanders faced a tough Texas Longhorn team in the College Station Regional.
The last time the Islanders and Bears met up was in 2011 when the Islanders were a No. 4 seed in the Baylor Regional. The men's team dropped a 4-1 loss in the opening round.
Leading the men's team this season has been two-time Southland Conference Player of the Year Peter Nagy in No. 1 singles. The junior is on an eight-match winning streak and holds a 20-3 overall mark in the No. 1 slot. In his three years as an Islander, Nagy has a career dual mark of 47-15.
Also highlighting the men's team is Ricardo Mayagoitia and Javier Pujol, who both earned Southland Conference First Team All-Conference honors. Mayagoitia has registered a 13-8 record at No. 2 singles while Pujol is on a six-matching winning streak with an overall mark of 16-9, including a 5-2 mark at No. 3 singles. Freshman Paul Cook, who earned Second Team All-Conference honors, has stepped up in No. 6 singles for a 9-3 record and has won six consecutive singles matches. In his first year, Cook has tallied a 10-4 overall record and also registered a 6-0 record in conference play.
Senior Matt Westmoreland makes his third appearance into the NCAA Tournament after clinching the Southland Conference Tournament match for the Islanders for the second straight year. He stands behind Associate Head Coach Goncalo Figueiredo in second place all-time in Islanders singles history with a career mark of 48-33. This season he has notched an 11-10 overall mark.
In doubles play, First Team All-Southland honorees Peter Nagy and Guillaume Rauseo have won five straight in the No. 1 slot and have captured an 11-6 overall mark. The freshman-senior duo of Cook and Westmoreland have won two straight in No. 2 doubles and will enter Saturday's opening round of play with an 8-6 record.
The No. 6 ranked Bears will come into the match with a 23-5 record and have three players ranked in the ITA singles rankings and one doubles team in the ITA doubles rankings. Leading the Bears is Julian Lenz, who is ranked No. 3 in the singles rankings, with a 13-2 record at No. 1 singles. Patrick Pradella is ranked No. 14 with a 20-9 overall mark and Diego Galeano holds a No. 31 ranking with a 13-3 record at No. 3 singles. In doubles, Pradella and Mate Zsiga are ranked No. 21 with a 10-7 overall record at No. 1 doubles.
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