CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's and women's tennis teams will open the home portion of their schedules on Sunday, Jan. 26, against Maryland Baltimore County at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. Singles play is set for 10 a.m. and doubles will follow if necessary.
"Rob Hubbard is a dear friend of mine and a coach I have a lot of respect for," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "His teams are always going to play extremely hard and smart, so we need to be ready to fight and play with a lot of passion."
The Islanders men's team (5-3) is on a four-match winning streak after posting back-to-back 4-0 wins in Las Cruces, N.M. over New Mexico State and Utah State. Prior to that, the Islanders went 3-3 in Albuquerque, N.M., picking up a pair of wins over Arizona, splitting with UC Irvine and dropping two to the Lobos.
No. 1 singles player, Peter Nagy is 5-1 on the year while this week's Southland Conference Men's Tennis Player of the Week, Guillaume Rauseo is 5-2 in singles play. Senior Matt Westmoreland and freshman Paul Cook are a perfect 3-0 in No. 2 doubles.
The women's tennis is coming off an impressive season last year. The squad accomplished something no other team in program history had done, breaking into the ITA Top 75 at No. 60 in the nation. The Islanders clinched their first nine matches and advanced to the finals of the Southland Conference Tournament, while placing second in the conference during the regular season.
The Islanders return senior captains Stefania Nicolae and Sandra Burges. Nicolae won her second Marco & Co. Catering Islanders Open singles title in three years in September after she topped sophomore Maider Martin in the finals. Burges teamed up with junior Chelsea Horan in doubles play of the Islanders Open to clinch the title over Nicolae and Martin.
Last season, Nicolae posted a stellar 17-2 dual match singles record to earn First Team All-Conference. Sophomore Celia Rodriguez went 14-1, including a 6-1 singles record in conference play to earn Second Team All-Conference honors. Burges, who split time in the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 spots tallied a 15-6 dual match singles record, and Martin registered a 14-7 dual match singles record.
The last time both teams met up with the Retrievers was on March 22, 2012, in Corpus Christi. The women's team registered a 5-2 victory while the men lost a 4-3 heartbreaker. The men's team played without Nagy and Pietro Jordao. On the women's side, Nicolae picked up a three-set win in No. 3 singles, while Burges topped her opponent in the No. 4 slot. Also, competing in the singles lineup was Horan, who also clinched her singles match in the No. 5 position. Burges and Horan teamed up to help the Islanders clinch the doubles point in the No. 2 spot.
Both UMBC men's and women's opening matches at UTPA on Friday were canceled due to inclement weather but are scheduled to play Prairie View A&M in Edinburg today before playing the Islanders on Sunday.
Last season the UMBC women's team tallied a 4-16 record, with wins over Binghamton, Delaware, St. Joseph's and Drexel. The men's team posted a 9-9 record last season with victories over Morgan St., Drexel, St. Joseph's, Navy, Delaware, Howard, Temple and a pair over Stony Brook.
"We're excited about our first home match and playing at our home facility that we have so much pride in," Moore added.
Following Sunday's match, the women's team will embark on a four-match road swing. First up is a pair of matches in Houston against Southern Mississippi (Feb. 1) and Houston (Feb. 2). The men's team will return to action along with the women on Feb. 4 at Prairie View A&M.
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