BEAUMONT – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's tennis team clinched at least a share of their fifth straight Southland Conference Regular Season Championship with a 7-0 win over Nicholls on Wednesday afternoon. A win on Thursday against Lamar will give the Islanders the No. 1 seed in the Southland Tournament next week.
"We really fought like crazy today," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "I feel like the guys fitness has become a real edge as it gets hotter and later in the year."
The Islander men move to 11-11 on the season, 3-1 in league matches. Nicholls is now 9-9 overall, and finished conference play with a 3-2 record. They came into the match as the first-place team in the league, and had reached as high as No. 68 in the ITA National Rankings this season.
"Nichols has had a great year, cracking into the national rankings and this match was much closer than the score," said Moore. "We have a lot of respect for Lamar and we know they are going to be extremely hard to beat at home so we need the same type of focus and intensity from every guy.
"They really were very focused today and played incredibly tough smart tennis."
They have won the title in each of the last five years, and can clinch the No. 1 seed again with a win over Lamar on Thursday. The Islanders have been the top seed each season they have been eligible for the conference tournament, with 2010 being the only exception due to NCAA probation. The team has also won the league title in each of those years.
In doubles, the Islanders swept the point, with Aurelien Tave and Peter Nagy winning 8-3 at No. 1, Nathan Robinson and Matt Westmoreland taking an 8-5 victory at No. 2, and Alex Pavlov and Andrew Maingot completing the sweep with an 8-6 win at No. 3.
In singles, Tave rallied from a first set loss, winning 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) at No. 1, while Nagy win 6-1, 6-2 at No. 2 singles.
Robinson earned a 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 final at No. 3, Westmoreland won 6-3, 6-3 at No. 4, while Fernando Llorens won 6-4, 6-4 in No. 5, while Pietro Jordan closed out singles play with a 7-5, 6-3 win to make it a clean sweep.
"This team's goals are to win the conference tournament and go to the NCAA," said Moore. "They played today with a sense of urgency to reach those goals. We have to play tomorrow with that same sense of urgency."
After the final match of the season on Thursday, the men will travel to Nacogdoches next Friday for the Southland Conference Tournament. The winner of the tournament will earn the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Championships.
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Tennis Match Results
Nicholls vs Texas A&M - Corpus Christi
04/18/2012 at Beaumont, Texas
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 7, Nicholls 0
1. Aurelien Tave (AMCC) def. Damjan Despotovski (NICH) 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)
2. Peter Nagy (AMCC) def. Dmitry Kozionov (NICH) 6-1, 6-2
3. Nathan Robinson (AMCC) def. Palash Tiwari (NICH) 7-6 (7-1), 6-2
4. Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) def. Shayann Vaezzadeh (NICH) 6-3, 6-3
5. Fernando Llorens (AMCC) def. Roy Knight (NICH) 6-4, 6-4
6. Pietro Jordao (AMCC) def. Sidharth Sivakumar (NICH) 7-5, 6-3
1. Aurelien Tave/Peter Nagy (AMCC) def. Palash Tiwari/Roy Knight (NICH) 8-3
2. Nathan Robinson/Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) def. Dmitry Kozionov/Shayann Vaezzadeh (NICH) 8-5
3. Andrew Maingot/Alex Pavlov (AMCC) def. Damjan Despotovski/Sidharth Sivakumar (NICH) 8-6
Nicholls 9-9, 3-2 SLC
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 11-11, 3-1 SLC