ISLANDER TENNIS FALLS TO UMBC IN PAIR OF TENNIS MATCHES
The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi tennis program lost a tough 4-3 final in men's action and a 4-2 final on the women's side on Wednesday morning at the Corpus Christi Country Club against Maryland-Baltimore County.
The loss drops the Islander men to 6-10 on the season while the women are now 7-8 on the year.
The match was originally scheduled for Tuesday at 5 PM but was backed up to 9 PM due to rain. The Islanders were able to secure three courts at the Corpus Christi Athletic Club but were forced to stop due to the club closing at 10:30 PM.
After Andrew Maingot and Duje Janjic last an 8-6 final at No. 3 doubles, the pair of James Langford and Dmitry Novikov evened the match with an 8-6 win at the No. 1 spot. Alex Pavlov and Robert Raguz won the doubles point for TAMUCC when they took a 9-8 (7-3) win at the No. 2 spot.
The match then resumed the next morning at 10:30 AM with the Islanders winning quickly at No. 1 and 2 singles to go up 3-0. Veteran seniors Novikov and James Langford won in straight sets but UMBC pulled out a tough win at No. 3 singles and then swept No. 4, 5 and 6 singles in straight sets to take the match 4-3.
Novikov took a 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 1 and Langford won 7-6, 6-2 at the No. 2 position. At No. 3 singles, Raguz lost 5-6, 6-1, 6-3, Pavlov fell 6-1, 6-4 at No. 4, Janjic lost 6-4, 6-1 at No. 5 singles and Nathan Robinson took a 6-2, 6-3 loss at the No. 6 spot to close out the match.
"We didn't bring enough tenacity early in the match at 4,5 and 6 and got down in all three," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "Early energy and momentum is a huge key in this sport and we didn't bring enough of that at any of the bottom three singles matches.
"Our doubles last night was amazing for exactly the opposite reason, we brought incredible energy and had a great crowd indoors and just simply had more grit.
The Retrievers won the final three matches in straight sets against the Islander men.
"I give them full credit, they had more grit than us in the bottom of the lineup," said Moore. "They flat out out-fought us at the bottom of the lineup.
"We'll bounce back and keep learning."
The Islanders now go to one of the toughest team tournaments in the country, the Rice Galleria Team invite and will play South Florida, North Carolina State and Rice in consecutive days.
"It's a great honor to be invited to this event and we look forward to competing in it." Said Moore
On the women's side, the Islanders sat out their top player Mirna Cicak as a precautionary measure. The women lost 4-2 and did not play doubles due to the weather forcing the match to Wednesday.
"No doubt we miss Mirna, she is one of the top players in Division I," said Moore. "But I also give UMBC a lot of credit, they are a very tough team and very well coached."
Freshman Doris Kuselj won in three sets at the No. 1 spot in place of Cicak, taking a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 match.
"I thought Doris competed with great heart after a slow start in the first set," said Moore. "She has been fighting great for us all year."
At No. 5 singles, Nadia Filmalter won in a super tiebreaker, 6-4, 6-7, 10-8 for the second Islander point.
"I thought Nadia is one of the most improved players in our conference," said Moore. "She is really improving and competing hard."
With everyone in the lineup being forced to move up one spot, the Islanders lost 4-of-6 singles matches played.
Freshman Adrienne Kovacs lost 6-4, 6-4 at the No. 2 spot, junior Bianca Discordia lost 6-2, 7-5 at No. 3 singles, freshman LeAnne Mascall lost 6-3, 6-1 at No. 4 and senior Megan Harless lost 6-3, 6-4 in the No. 6 position.
"We're very young," said Moore. "But we are learning and competing hard.
Next up for the women is a road match against Northwestern State in Natchitoches, La. on Saturday, Mar. 27. Match time is scheduled for 11 AM.