College Station The #56 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's tennis team ended its season on Friday afternoon with a loss to the Arizona Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament. The first round match was held at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center on the campus of Texas A&M.
The Islanders finish the season with a record of 14-9 while the Wildcats improved to 18-5 and will move on to the second round to play the winner of the Texas A&M vs. Binghamton match.
"These guys had an incredible season and a lot to be proud of," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "But give credit to Arizona, they played like a Top 25 team today."
The match started well for the Islanders, with Mikhail Pavlov and Dmitry Novikov winning the No. 1 doubles match against Andres Arango and Ravid Hazi by an 8-4 score. Jay Goldman and Pat Metham of Arizona took the No. 2 doubles point over Laurent Montoisy and Jose Zunino by an 8-5 final. The deciding match in the doubles round came at the No. 3 position, with James Langford and David Pace losing a heartbreaker to Andres Carrasco and Francois VanderMerwe in a tiebreaker at 9-8 (7-2) to put Arizona up 1-0.
"I think we all knew deep down that we had to win the doubles point to win this match," said Moore. "The fact that it didn't happen today does not diminish the season these guys had."
In the singles matches, the Islanders battled late but were unable to come through to pick up any points as Arizona won at No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 singles. No. 1 singles saw Pavlov fall to Goldman by a 6-0, 6-3 final. At No. 2 singles, Novikov struggled early but came on late before being defeated by Arango by a final of 6-2, 6-3. No. 3 singles saw Montoisy battle through injury before finally losing 6-2, 6-3. No. 4 singles had Zunino come back from a set down to win the second set. The match eventually went unfinished with Zunino up 3-1 when the team match was over. Jaume Farras won the first set at No. 5 singles against Metham and was up in the second when the match ended.
"I think we fought as hard as we could," said Moore. "The hardest part about this is that I hate to lose the three great seniors we had."
The Islanders accomplished a lot this season, including their second straight Southland Conference championship, second straight undefeated SLC season, second straight SLC Tournament Championship as well as back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament. The Islanders lose seniors Pavlov, Zunino and Farras but will be back in the hunt for the SLC Championship once again next season as they continue to get stronger as a program.
#24 Arizona 4, #56 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 0
1. Jay Goldman (AU) def. Mikhail Pavlov (AMCC) 6-0, 6-3
2. Andres Arango (AU) def. Dmitry Novikov (AMCC) 6-2, 6-1
3. Andres Carrasco (AU) def. Laurent Montoisy (AMCC) 6-2, 6-3
4. Ravid Hazi (AU) vs. Jose Zunino (AMCC) 6-4, 2-6, 1-3, unfinished
5. Pat Metham (AU) vs. Jaume Farras (AMCC) 6-7 (5-7), 1-3, unfinished
6. Jason Zafiros (AU) vs. James Langford (AMCC) 6-4, 4-3, unfinished
1. Mikhail Pavlov/Dmitry Novikov (AMCC) def. Andres Arango/Ravid Hazi (AU) 8-4
2. Jay Goldman/Pat Metham (AU) def. Laurent Montoisy/Jose Zunino (AMCC) 8-5
3. Andres Carrasco/Francois VanderMerwe (AU) def. James Langford/David Pace (AMCC) 9-8 (7-2)
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 14-9; National ranking #56
Arizona 18-5; National ranking #24
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (1,2,3)