Houston - For the third time this year, the Islanders competed in a major national invitational tournament as the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's tennis team played a tough match against one of the top teams in the country before falling 4-1 to No. 36 North Carolina State.
The Islanders are 6-11 on the season and have competed in the ITA National Indoor Invitational, hosted the prestigious HEB Tournament of Champions and now compete in the 52nd Annual Rice Invitational.
The Islanders entered this tournament last year as the No. 2 seed and ranked No. 35 in Division I.
"Last year was pretty special, being the No. 2 seed at this tournament," said Moore. "Although that's not the case this year, I'm extremely proud of the way this team competed and represented the university.
"It's an honor to be invited to this tournament and we plan on competing especially hard again tomorrow and the fact that we're in these tournament speaks very highly of what we have established as a program here."
The Islanders have played national powerhouses this year such as Texas, TCU, Iowa, DePaul, New Mexico, New Mexico State and in this tournament face No. 36 North Carolina State, Tulane and No. 48 Rice.
"We certainly played our share of top competition this year," said Moore. "That's the way we want it."
In the doubles portion of the match, the Islanders went toe-to-toe with the Wolfpack and came out on top by a 2-1 margin to take the early 1-0 lead. No. 1 doubles team Dmitry Novikov and James Langford won an 8-6 final over Frideric Prandecki and Rob Lowe and Alex Pavlov and Robert Raguz took an 8-4 final at the No. 2 spot against Dominic Hodgson and Dave Thomson. The No. 3 team of Duje Janjic and Andrew Maingot lost an 8-2 match against Jaime Pulgar and Fernando Banos.
"This was perhaps the best we competed all year as a group," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "We played a very, very good team today.
"We won the doubles point decidedly and were way up in the third set of one match and beginning the third set at No. 2 singles."
In singles, Pavlov lost to Rafael Paez by a 6-2, 6-2 final at No. 4 and Novikov took a 6-1, 6-3 loss to Pulgar who is ranked No. 94 in the nation for singles to put the Wolfpack up 2-1. Maingot played the No. 6 position, losing a 6-2, 7-5 match against Akash Gujarati and Raguz was defeated by Thomson at the No. 3 spot in a close 7-5, 6-4 match. Langford at No. 2 singles and Janjic at No. 5 did not finish their match. Janjic was up 4-1 in the third and final set when play was stopped.
"I always judge the team on how much they max out and how hard they compete, not on the result," said Moore. "Today all six guys competed strong."
The Islanders have a quick turnaround as they play against the Tulane Green Wave on Saturday at Rice. Match time is scheduled for 9 AM to try and beat the rain but could be played at 1 PM on indoor courts if the weather in uncooperative.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi vs North Carolina State
3/19/2010 at Houston, Texas
#36 North Carolina State 4, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 1
1. #94 Jaime Pulgar (NCST) def. Dmitry Novikov (AMCC) 6-1, 6-3
2. Dominic Hodgson (NCST) vs. James Langford (AMCC) 6-4, 6-7, unfinished
3. Dave Thomson (NCST) def. Robert Raguz (AMCC) 7-5, 6-4
4. Rafael Paez (NCST) def. Alex Pavlov (AMCC) 6-2, 6-2
5. Fernando Banos (NCST) vs. Duje Janjic (AMCC) 6-2, 2-6, 1-4, unfinished
6. Akash Gujarati (NCST) def. Andrew Maingot (AMCC) 6-2, 7-5
1. Dmitry Novikov/James Langford (AMCC) def. Frideric Prandecki/Rob Lowe (NCST) 8-6
2. Alex Pavlov/Robert Raguz (AMCC) def. Dominic Hodgson/Dave Thomson (NCST) 8-4
3. Jaime Pulgar/Fernando Banos (NCST) def. Andrew Maingot/Duje Janjic (AMCC) 8-2
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 6-11
North Carolina State 11-3; National ranking #36
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (4,1,6,3)