CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's and women's tennis teams will return to action Tuesday, Feb. 18 in Lafayette, La. when they face the Ragin' Cajuns at the Cajun Courts. The Islanders men's team is on a seven-match winning streak and has tied the best start in school history with an 8-3 record that dates back to 2007. The women's team (4-2) earned one of their biggest wins ever defeating nationally ranked SMU on the road in Dallas last week.
"This is a team we have tremendous respect for," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "They do an incredibly good job at home as far as fans. It's a tough environment to play at, but at the same time I love it, because that is what college tennis needs, a loud, spirited crowd. This is what we try so hard to do in Corpus Christi.
"This will be good for our players as it makes them mentally tougher and all boats rise for college tennis with fan attendance like we will see tomorrow. It is good for our sport and good for college tennis. We train our team consistently on controlling the things we can control, and fans are not one of the things you can control, so I expect a mentally focused effort from our teams."
The Islanders have a tremendous history of thrilling matches against ULL. Last season, the Islanders women's team earned one of its toughest wins of the season with a 6-1 victory over the Ragin' Cajuns at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. After numerous delays due to the weather, the Islanders picked up the win to stay undefeated on the season. After the Islanders clinched the doubles point, returners Maider Martin, Sandra Burges, Stefania Nicolae and Celia Rodriguez all claimed singles wins. Prior to that, the Islanders clinched a come-from-behind victory over ULL, 4-1, in Lafayette, La. with the final four singles matches going into a third set.
Freshman Judit Vives leads the Islanders in singles play with a perfect 4-0 record in the No. 6 slot. Fellow freshman Kerry Galhos has also been outstanding in the No. 5 spot with a 4-1 record. Rodriguez leads the returners with a 5-1 record, including a 5-0 record in the No. 4 position. The sophomore clinched the match for the Islanders, 7-5, in the third set to lift the team to a 4-3 victory over SMU last week.
On the men's side, the Islanders and Ragin' Cajuns met up twice last season with the Islanders taking both matches at home. In the first meeting, the two teams faced each other in the semifinals of the 47th Annual HEB Tournament of Champions at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. The Islanders earned a gritty 4-2 win in a match that featured three singles matches reach a third set. Returners Peter Nagy, Matt Westmoreland and Ricardo Mayagoitia each secured singles victories. In the second meeting in Corpus Christi, the Islanders roared from behind to score the final four-team points to win 5-2 over ULL. Nagy, Westmoreland, Mayagoitia and Javier Pujol all recorded singles wins.
The match between the Ragin' Cajuns and the Islanders in Lafayette in 2010 was one of the longest matches in Islanders' history going seven hours because of a rain delay. The thrilling match came down to the tiebreaker in No. 1 doubles with James Langford and Dmitry Novikov squeezing out the 9-7 win to lift the Islanders to a 4-3 victory.
Nagy is powering the men's team with an 8-1 record in No. 1 singles while Guillaume Rauseo is 8-2 in singles play, including a 7-1 record at No. 3 singles. Both Nagy and Rauseo are on a seven-match winning streak. In doubles play, the freshman-senior duo of Westmoreland and Paul Cook come into Tuesday's match with a 4-0 record in the No. 2 spot. As a team the Islanders are 35-18 in singles play and 11-4 in doubles action this season.
The Ragin' Cajuns' men's team is 6-2 on the year with wins over Incarnate Word, UTPA, Lamar, Jackson State, UT Arlington and Xavier. Both of the losses have come against ranked opponents, No. 12 Texas A&M and No. 6 Baylor.
The women's team comes into Tuesday's match with a 3-3 record after wins over Jackson State, Southern and Xavier. The Ragin' Cajuns are coming off a 4-2 loss to Arkansas State. Prior to that, the team fell to UTSA and Texas State.
"Louisiana-Lafayette men's and women's teams are teams we truly respect for how they always battle hard and we are looking for a great battle tomorrow," Moore added.
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