BEAUMONT, Texas – The No. 51 Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Men's Tennis team picked up another thrilling victory on Friday afternoon, taking home a 4-3 final over Florida A&M in a marathon five-hour match. The team narrowly avoided an upset against a team that nearly earned upsets against South Florida and South Alabama, both teams that have been ranked in the Top 60 of the ITA rankings during the season.
The Islanders (6-5) dodged a bullet against a very talented Florida A&M (4-9) team, falling behind 3-2 at one point, and facing six dual match points at No. 3 singles before going on to win by the 4-3 final.
"That was one of the closest college tennis matches and exciting finishes I've been apart of in 20 years of coaching," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "We played a very talented team today. Every coach we got a scouting report from said they had a chance of taking down any team if they played well.
In doubles, the Islanders fell into an early hole after the Rattlers swept the matches to take an early 1-0 lead. Peter Nagy and Odon Barta lost a tough 9-8 (8-5) match at the No. 1 position, while Gergo Weidinger and Guillaume Rauseo fell 9-8 (8-6) in No. 2 doubles. Andrew Maingot and Matt Westmoreland came up short by an 8-5 score at No. 3 doubles to finish the opening portion of the match.
In singles, the Islanders picked up wins at No. 4 singles as Ricardo Mayagoitia won 7-5, 6-4, and at No. 6, with Javier Pujol taking a 6-4, 6-3 final. They fell behind by the 3-2 score after dropping singles matches at No. 2, with Westmoreland falling 6-4, 6-3, and Rauseo coming up short by a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 final at No. 5 singles.
Nagy won a 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) match at No. 1 singles to knot the score at 3-3 and setup a showdown at the No. 3 singles match.
Weidinger fell in a close first set, and fought off six dual match points at 6-6 in the second set before taking the tiebreaker and winning the third set with a 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (10-8), 7-5 final to clinch the match for the Islanders.
Both players fought their heart out. After five hours of play and both players cramping, the two players had to serve underhanded and could barely move.
"I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of Gergo to never give up and play with all his heart," said Moore. "I give a lot of credit to our trainer, Kali Forero. She took a cramping athlete and found a way to buy him 15 more minutes of match time, which was just enough to win this match.
"Without her, we lose this match today. No question."
The women's team, who play Northwestern State tomorrow, drove through Beaumont and stopped to watch the men play on their way to their match in Natchitoches, La.
"The guys and girls were also incredible in pulling him through," said Moore. "I can't say enough about the heart the entire team showed, from the teammates cheering as loud as they could, to Gergo willing his way to victory, it was awesome."
It doesn't get any easier for the men's team, with their next match coming against Southern Mississippi in Corpus Christi on March 13. After that, the Islanders head to the Rice Galleria Team Invite where they will face nationally ranked competition.
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Tennis Match Results
Florida A&M vs Texas A&M - Corpus Christi
03/08/13 at Beaumont, Texas
#51 Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 4, Florida A&M 3
1. Peter Nagy (AMCC) def. C. Salif Kante (FAMU) 7-5, 7-6 (7-4)
2. Chidi Gabriel (FAMU) def. Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) 6-4, 6-3
3. Gergo Weidinger (AMCC) def. Zack Evenden (FAMU) 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (10-8), 7-5
4. Ricardo Mayagoitia (AMCC) def. Admire Mushonga (FAMU) 7-5, 6-3
5. Takura Happy (FAMU) def. Guillaume Rauseo (AMCC) 7-6 (7-4), 6-4
6. Javier Pujol (AMCC) def. Temuera Asafu-Adjaye (FAMU) 6-4, 6-3
1. C. Salif Kante/Takura Happy (FAMU) def. Peter Nagy/Odon Barta (AMCC) 9-8 (8-5)
2. Temuera Asafu-Adjaye/Zack Evenden (FAMU) def. Gergo Weidinger/Guillaume Rauseo (AMCC) 9-8 (8-6)
3. Admire Mushonga/Chidi Gabriel (FAMU) def. Andrew Maingot/Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) 8-5
Florida A&M 4-9
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 6-5; National ranking #51