CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - The No. 75 Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's tennis team kept its quest a fourth-straight Southland Conference Championship on track Thursday with a 6-1 victory over the Lamar Cardinals. The team is now 23-1 in the last 24 Southland Conference regular-season and tournament matches.
The Islanders improved to 11-9 overall and are now 3-0 in the Southland Conference. Lamar fell to 7-9 this season with a 1-2 record in league play.
The home team started things off with a 2-1 win at doubles to take a 1-0 dual match lead. The first to finish in doubles was James Langford and Aurelien Tave, taking an 8-2 final at No. 2 to put their team in the lead. The Cardinals tied it at 1-1 when Alex Pavlov and Robert Raguz dropped an 8-4 match at the No. 3 position. Laurent Montoisy and Gergo Weidinger grabbed an 8-5 final at the No. 1 spot to put Texas A&M - Corpus Christi ahead early on.
It got tougher from their however, as Texas A&M - Corpus Christi trailed in four match after the start of singles play.
"We dug a ditch for ourselves early, but showed a lot of character and guts to dig out and get it done," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "A lot of respect for this Lamar team, they competed very hard today and had our backs against the wall.
"We need to start with more intensity and we learned that lesson today, but these guys really showed a lot of character and really turned it on when we needed it."
Montoisy kept the momentum going, dominating at No. 1 singles for a 6-0 6-1 win and a 2-0 margin. Langford pushed the match to the brink at No. 2 singles with his 6-2, 6-3 win and a 3-0 advantage.
"James and Laurent have just been special this year," said Moore. "But they're special guys so I'm not surprised."
Raguz clinched the match for the Islanders with his comeback at No. 4 singles. He lost the first set but rallied for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory to give the match to Texas A&M - Corpus Christi.
Matt Westmoreland added to the total at No. 5 singles with a stirring two-set match. After trailing 5-0 in the first set, he rallied for seven-straight games and took a 7-5, 6-3 final to make it 5-0. Weidinger forced a super tiebreaker at No. 6 singles but was unable to complete the comeback as he suffered a 7-5, 2-6, 10-1 loss.
The final match of the day to finish was also sent to a super tiebreaker as Tave completed his comeback from being a set down for a 3-6, 7-5, 10-4 win and a 6-1 dual match final.
"I thought Robert Raguz' third set was one of the best sets he has played all year," said Moore. "I thought Matt Westmoreland showed incredible courage to fight back from 5-0 down.
"The same goes for Aurelien as he fought back for the win."
Next up for the Islanders is a match on Monday, April 4 against Texas - Pan American. It will be held at the Corpus Christi Country Club and will feature a 1 p.m. start time. It will be another important match for the team as they look to avenge their only Southland Conference loss in the last four seasons.
"This is the toughest the conference has ever been by a mile," said Moore. "But these guys are pretty tough also."
Tennis Match Results
Lamar vs Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
3/31/2011 at Corpus Christi, Texas
#75 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 6, Lamar 1
1. Laurent Montoisy (AMCC) def. Denis Ermilov (LAMAR) 6-0, 6-1
2. James Langford (AMCC) def. Robert Lee (LAMAR) 6-2, 6-3
3. Aurelien Tave (AMCC) def. Carlos Valdenebro (LAMAR) 3-6, 7-5, 10-4
4. Robert Raguz (AMCC) def. Marton Horvath (LAMAR) 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
5. Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) def. Dusan Savkovic (LAMAR) 7-5, 6-3
6. Diego Snyder (LAMAR) def. Gergo Weidinger (AMCC) 7-5, 2-6, 10-1
1. Laurent Montoisy/Gergo Weidinger (AMCC) def. Denis Ermilov/Dusan Savkovic (LAMAR) 8-5
2. James Langford/Aurelien Tave (AMCC) def. Marton Horvath/Robert Lee (LAMAR) 8-2
3. Diego Snyder/Carlos Valdenebro (LAMAR) def. Alex Pavlov/Robert Raguz (AMCC) 8-4
Lamar 7-9, 1-2 Southland
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 11-9, 3-0 Southland; National ranking #75
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (1,2,4,5,6,3)