SAN ANTONIO, Texas - The No. 75 Texas A&M - Corpus Christi Men's Tennis team took a tough 4-1 match against UTSA on Sunday to win the 2011 Southland Conference Tournament and garner an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. The Islanders will be headed back to the NCAAs for the third time in four seasons and the fourth time in program history.
The team improved its record to 15-9 on the season with their second win in the past month against UTSA on the Roadrunners home court. UTSA finishes the year with a record of 11-10 overall.
The doubles point was eerily familiar to the first time the two teams played as they split the No. 2 and 3 matches. James Langford and Aurelien Tave won an 8-3 match at No. 2 while Robert Raguz and Matt Westmoreland fell by an 8-6 final. That left the deciding point up to No. 1 doubles. The previous time the teams met, UTSA won a 9-8 (7-2) final over Laurent Montoisy and Gergo Weidinger. It was just the opposite this time with the Islanders taking a 9-8 (7-2) win to secure the first point of the match.
"An unbelievably spirited and competitive college tennis match," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "Both teams played well enough to win.
"I have a lot of respect for the way UTSA competed today."
In singles, it was a battle of wills as only two matches went two sets. The first to finish was the No. 1 flight with Montoisy taking his first loss of the season against a Southland Conference opponent with a 6-2, 6-3 loss to tie the match at 1-1 after the first singles.
In No. 3 Tave put his team back ahead with the only other two-set match of the day, taking a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) final to make it 2-1.
"This came down to an old-fashioned who could outlast who fight," said Moore. "I'm incredibly proud of the way our guys rose up.
"This looked for a long time like it was not going to go our way, but these guys just fought with so much tenacity and refused to let that happen."
The rest of the matches all went to a third set with Texas A&M - Corpus Christi coming out on top in the final two matches to finish on the day.
Raguz finished off his opponent at No. 4 with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 win to make it a 3-1 contest. The final match of the day was between Weidinger and Daniel Moser. In the first meeting between the two, Moser won in straight sets by a 6-2, 6-1 final. Weidinger was not going to let that happen to him again as he came out and took the first set on his way to a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 win and the title-clinching point for his team.
Langford was still on the court and was ahead in the third at 2-6, 7-5, 3-2 when play was stopped.
"Truthfully, I don't think this team is ready to accept this being the last match for Laurent Montoisy and James Langford," said Moore. "They are so endeared by our team and have been such incredible captains; this team wasn't willing to let it be their last match.
"Those two guys have risen up every match the entire year, but today the other guys rose up for them. I'll take the character of this team against any team in the country."
The team now moves on and will find out its destination on Tuesday when the national bracket is announced. Check back on www.GoIslanders.com for more information about the selection show and the Islanders regional information.
Tennis Match Results
UTSA vs Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
May 01, 2011 at San Antonio, Texas
#75 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 4, UTSA 1
1. Martin Ayala (UTSA) def. Laurent Montoisy (AMCC) 6-2, 6-3
2. James Langford (AMCC) vs. Tyler Brown (UTSA) 2-6, 7-5, 3-2, unfinished
3. Aurelien Tave (AMCC) def. Yannick Junger (UTSA) 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
4. Robert Raguz (AMCC) def. Daniel Moreiras (UTSA) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
5. Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) vs. Max Stratmann (UTSA) 3-6, 6-1, 3-4, unfinished
6. Gergo Weidinger (AMCC) def. Daniel Moser (UTSA) 6-3, 1-6, 6-3
1. Laurent Montoisy/Gergo Weidinger (AMCC) def. Martin Ayala/Daniel Moreiras (UTSA) 9-8 (7-2)
2. Aurelien Tave/James Langford (AMCC) def. Tyler Brown/Yannick Junger (UTSA) 8-3
3. Max Stratmann/Pedro Zanotelli (UTSA) def. Robert Raguz/Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) 8-6
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 15-9; National ranking #75
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (1,3,4,6)
2011 Southland Conference Tournament Championship Match
Official: Chuck Scott T-3:42 A-245