CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Tennis teams piled up victories on Saturday at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center on the second day of the Marco & Co. Catering Islanders Open. In a strong draw that included Houston, UTSA, Lamar, Sam Houston State, Texas – Pan American and Texas A&M – Kingsville, the Islanders had dominant performances to earn both sports in the men's final and three of the final four spots in the women's singles bracket.
Men's players Peter Nagy and Matt Westmoreland advanced to the finals of their bracket to setup an All-Islanders final while Stefania Nicolae, Maider Martin and Sandra Burges make up all but one spot of the semifinals in the women's bracket. Burges and Chelsea Horan are also into the women's doubles finals at the tournament.
"I thought our team competed very well today as a whole," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "This was our first official competition, so we have a lot to improve on, but the things we can control, like our effort and our attitude, was very strong.
"I thought Matt Westmoreland and Peter Nagy played very focused matches today. They've both improved a tremendous amount from last spring, and it looks like they worked incredibly hard this summer."
In men's singles, Nagy cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 win to advance to the finals. Westmoreland won his match against Tyler Brown of UTSA by a 6-2, 6-2 score to setup a faceoff between two teammates. Since it is an All-Islanders final, the match will be moved to a 7 p.m. start on Tuesday night at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center.
"We think we will have an electric event Tuesday night at 7 p.m., with a chance to do something really rare if we have two Islander girls in the women's singles final." said Moore.
Women's singles has an even bigger Islanders presence, with three players comprising the final four of the bracket after Saturday evening. Burges won 6-4, 6-0 in her first match of the day, and came back for a 6-1, 6-2 final over her opponent from Sam Houston State. Newcomer Maider Martin also advanced the semifinals, winning 6-1, 6-0 over teammate Ashley Garza before taking a 7-5, 6-2 final over Charlotte Phillips from Houston.
In the lower part of the draw, Leanne Mascall won 6-3, 6-2 in her opening match of the day before falling 6-2, 6-4 against Masa Kazimieruk of Houston in the quarterfinals.
The bottom quarter of the bracket saw teammates face each other after Horan won 6-2, 5-7, 10-6 against Carolina Maso of Lamar to setup a match against Nicolae, who won earlier by a 6-1, 6-4 final against new Islanders player Venesa Figueroa. In the match between Nicolae and Horan, defending champion Nicolae got the better of the battle, winning 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the semifinals.
"This was a very deep field in the women's draw with some very good teams, and I really thought all of our girls showed a lot of heart in the way they competed," said Moore. "Sandra, Stefania and Maider all making the semifinals is a strong showing for us, while Chelsea Horan and Leanne Mascall also played very good matches to reach the quarterfinals."
In women's doubles action, Burges and Horan won 8-3 against Phillips and Kazimieruk of Houston and then beat Natalie Petaia and Sheridam Currie of Sam Houston State by a 9-7 score in the lower half of the bracket to advance to the finals.
"We have a lot of work to do, but I love the way this team competed today and really lifted each other up like a true team," said Moore. "The rain made this a very long day again, arriving before 8 a.m. after not leaving until 12:30 a.m. last night, but I didn't see any long faces from any of these guys or girls.
"They played with a lot of spirit and had a lot of bounce in their step, which is their choice when things don't go perfect, and I'm proud of them for that."
Play will resume at 9 a.m. on Sunday at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center.
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