EDINBURG, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's tennis team improved to 2-0 in Southland Conference play on Tuesday with a 5-2 win over Texas – Pan American at the Orville Cox Tennis Center on the UTPA campus. The Islanders improved to 29-1 over the last 30 Southland Conference Tournament and regular season matches since 2008, and are the four-time defending Southland Conference Champions.
"We're proud of that streak, it has taken a lot of guys fighting unbelievably hard over the years to make that happen," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "But we also know that the streak can end at any time if even one guy does not max out every point of every match."
The Islanders are back at .500 now with a 9-9 record on the season, and 2-0 in league play. UTPA moves to 7-8 on the year, 1-2 in Southland matches.
"This was a tough and gutsy win from our team," said Moore. "This match took every bit of fight we have. Give UTPA a lot of credit, they competed very hard at home today and this match could have gone their way.
"We really had to rise up in some key moments."
With the team traveling down to Edinburg for the match, it looked like it might be a rough day for the Islanders early on, with UTPA winning the doubles point by taking No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. Aurelien Tave and Peter Nagy fell by an 8-3 final at the No. 1 spot, while Matt Westmoreland and Alex Pavlov suffered a 9-7 defeat at No. 2. Andrew Maingot and Nathan Robinson once again earned a victory at No. 3 doubles, winning 8-4 to finish the scoring in the doubles portion.
"I was disappointed in doubles that we didn't get off to better starts," said Moore. "Although I was very impressed with Maingot and Robinson.
"Those two guys have become very seasoned and savvy players and we are relying on them a lot right now. They have really been delivering for us this year when we need them."
In singles, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi was able to rally for 5-of-6 matches to earn the 5-2 final.
"The singles was just a flat-out dogfight and every match was extremely close," said Moore. "Give them a lot of credit, they are just flat-out tough at home.
"I think some of our young guys really grew today; they really learned about playing every point with intensity, and not letting up."
At No. 2, reigning Southland Conference Player of the Week and senior captain Aurelien Tave was again the Islanders go-to guy, immediately evening the match at 1-1 with a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 2 singles.
"Aurelien's leadership and the way he is competing right now are lifting this team up so much," said Moore. "We are really leaning on him as a senior, and he is coming through every time."
At No. 1, Nagy fought a tough, three-set battle, earning a 5-7, 7-6, 10-8 win at the top position.
Robinson played the No 3 position and won 6-1, 6-4 to put the Islanders within one point of taking the match. Westmoreland won his second match back from injury, taking a 6-4, 6-0 final at No. 4 to give the Islanders the victory.
"Nathan Robinson was huge in singles, he has just grown and matured so much this year, I could talk about him forever," said Moore. "I thought Matt Westmoreland really found his game today, and I thought Peter Nagy and Fernando Llorens really learned what happens when you just keep battling and trusting yourself."
Fernando Llorens won in three sets, tallying a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 final at the No 5 position. After being up a set and 3-0 in the second, he relaxed a little bit and found himself down 0-1 in the third set.
"I thought Fernando really grew up today and really learned how to win the Islander way," said Moore. ""I really give a lot of credit today to Laurent Montoisy, one of the greatest Islanders ever, who pulled Fernando through and is still doing the same thing he did as a player for the Islanders, pouring his heart and soul into the team and helping any way he can.
"He is about as seasoned and battle-tested a guide that a young player could ever ask for and he really helped Fernando today. He has got a lot of wisdom to give these guys."
Montoisy is a fifth-year student assistant who traveled to the match as the Islanders third countable coach against UTPA.
The only singles loss of the day came for Pietro Jordao at No. 6 singles in his first match back from injury. Jordao lost 6-1, 7-5 in the final matchup of the day to make it a 5-2 score.
"Overall, we fought hard and overcame a lot of adversity," said Moore. "I did not always think we played our best, but we found a way to grind out a tough conference win and I'm proud of them for that."
Next up for the Islanders will be a non-conference match against Rice on Friday, April 6, at the Jake Hess Tennis Stadium.
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Tennis Match Results
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi vs Texas-Pan American
04/03/2012 at Edinburg, TX
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 5, Texas-Pan American 2
1. Peter Nagy (AMCC) def. Beau Bernstein (UTPA) 5-7, 7-6, 10-8
2. Aurelien Tave (AMCC) def. Ricardo Hopker (UTPA) 6-1, 6-2
3. Nathan Robinson (AMCC) def. Rolf Niederstrasser (UTPA) 6-1, 6-4
4. Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) def. Victor Alves (UTPA) 6-4, 6-0
5. Fernando Llorens (AMCC) def. Chetan Panditi (UTPA) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
6. Sebastien Job (UTPA) def. Pietro Jordao (AMCC) 6-1, 7-5
1. Beau Bernstein/Chetan Panditi (UTPA) def. Aurelien Tave/Peter Nagy (AMCC) 8-3
2. Sebastien Job/Ricardo Hopker (UTPA) def. Matt Westmoreland/Alex Pavlov (AMCC) 9-7
3. Andrew Maingot/Nathan Robinson (AMCC) def. Rolf Niederstrasser/Victor Alves (UTPA) 8-4
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 9-9, 2-0 SLC
Texas-Pan American 7-8, 1-2 SLC