FORT WORTH, Texas - The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's tennis team overcame a daunting deficit and earned a thrilling 4-3 win over the No. 49-ranked TCU Horned Frogs on Saturday at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center.
The team improves to 2-4 on the season with the win. TCU lost its first match of the year against to move to 2-1 on the season.
The Islanders, who fell out of ITA Top 75 national rankings last March for the first time in four years, have now had wins against No. 74 Utah State and No. 49 TCU in the last week.
"The way the ITA rankings work in tennis, you get ranked based on your best wins, not your record," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore "So we knew we had to play all tough teams to climb back into the rankings.
"That is a very important goal for this team. We can't control the rankings, all we can control our effort and our attitude, so we will focus on that and see what happens." said Moore in reference to the Islanders potential ranking this week.
Going into the singles portion of the dual match, the Islanders trailed 1-0 after losing the doubles point to the Horned Frogs.
Things looked bleak at first for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi as TCU's Cameron Nash took a 6-3, 6-4 win over Gergo Weidinger at No. 5 singles by a 6-3, 6-4 score. The second match to finish saw Robert Raguz suffer a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 loss against Zach Nichols in No. 3 singles to put the Islanders down 3-0 in the match and on the brink of defeat.
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi team never gave up however, winning all four of the remaining matches to take the team victory.
"I'm so proud of the way these guys kept fighting," said Moore. "It's easy when you lose a few to begin to let your effort slip, but these guys refused to do that.
"That's really the only choice you have, to keep your head up, keep fighting and believe things will turn your way if you do that long enough."
Matt Westmoreland put the first point on the board for the Islanders, winning a 6-2, 6-3 match against Santiago Centeno at No. 6 singles. James Langford put the team within one point by defeating Soren Goritzka 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 at No. 2 singles. Aurelien Tave knotted the match at 3-3 with his 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 win over Slah Mbarek at the No. 4 position
With the match tied at 3-3, the match was on the shoulders of Laurent Montoisy. He was down 2-0 in third set and behind 40-15 in the third game on the verge of falling behind 3-0 before turning the set around. Following the comeback, he clinched the match in favor of the Islanders. He earned the win for the team by taking a 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Emanuel Brighiu at the No. 1 singles position. Montoisy managed to do it on a tender ankle, having turned it the day before and being forced to withdraw from his match against Baylor.
"Very gutsy, courageous effort from Laurent, he is a senior and our co-captain," said Moore. "He led by example with his heart today."
In the doubles portion of the match, Montoisy and Langford lost to the No. 55-ranked team of Brighiu and Christopher Price in a marathon doubles match, losing 8-7 (14-12) in the tiebreak. At No. 2 doubles, Raguz and Nathan Robinson lost an 8-2 match to Mbarek and Goritzka. The No. 3 doubles portion saw Daniel Sanchez and Nichols take an 8-4 win against Andrew Maingot and Alex Pavlov.
Next up for the men's team will be their first home match of the season on Sunday, February 13 in Corpus Christi. They will host Louisiana-Lafayette with a 1 p.m. start.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi vs TCU
1/29/2011 at Fort Worth, Texas
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 4, #49 TCU 3
1. Laurent Montoisy (AMCC) def. Emanuel Brighiu (TCU) 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-4
2. James Langford (AMCC) def. Soren Goritzka (TCU) 6-1, 4-6, 6-3
3. Zach Nichols (TCU) def. Robert Raguz (AMCC) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3
4. Aurelien Tave (AMCC) def. Slah Mbarek (TCU) 7-5, 4-6, 6-2
5. Cameron Nash (TCU) def. Gergo Weidinger (AMCC) 6-3, 6-4
6. Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) def. Santiago Centeno (TCU) 6-2, 6-3
1. #55 Emanuel Brighiu/Christopher Price (TCU) def. James Langford/Laurent Montoisy (AMCC) 8-7 (14-12)
2. Slah Mbarek/Soren Goritzka (TCU) def. Robert Raguz/Nathan Robinson (AMCC) 8-2
3. Daniel Sanchez/Zach Nichols (TCU) def. Andrew Maingot/Alex Pavlov (AMCC) 8-4
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 2-4
TCU 2-1; National ranking #49
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (5,3,6,2,4,1)
T-4h, 45m A-255