CORPUS CHRISTI – For the second straight year the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's and women's tennis teams have advanced to the finals of the Southland Conference Tournament. The No. 1 seed men's team (18-9, 6-0 SLC) secured a 4-0 win over No. 4 New Orleans (6-11, 2-4 SLC) in the semifinals and will face No. 3 seed Lamar in the championship match at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
The No. 2 seed Islanders women's team (21-5, 11-1 SLC) garnered a tight 4-2 win over No. 3 McNeese State (16-7, 10-2 SLC), and will face Northwestern State in a rematch of last season's championship match.
"Unbelievably good battles," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "New Orleans played an incredible match against some tough seniors that really fought hard today. It was windy, we had to really pay the price and really suffer with our legs. I'm pride our guys and how they rose up at the end. It was a match that could have slipped away from us. A lot of respect for New Orleans.
"Lamar is going to be super tough tomorrow. It's a team that we know how good they are. They are healthy again, but it's our home court, so we are going to come out and control the things we can control, and that means fighting as hard as we can humanly fight one point at a time in the present."
The men's team came out strong to win the doubles point on courts one and three to take a 1-0 lead. The tandem of Peter Nagy and Guillaume Rauseo cruised to an 8-2 victory over Timo Kranz and Gonzalo Garcia in No. 1 doubles before the sophomore pair of Ricardo Mayagoitia and Javier Pujol grinded out an 8-5 win over Chris Appelgren and Rui Silva in No. 3 doubles.
The Islanders kept fighting to win three straight in singles play to clinch the match. Freshman Paul Cook padded the Islanders lead to 2-0 after topping Appelgren in a straight-set match in No. 6 singles. Cook rolled past Appelgren 6-1 in the first before winning a tight 7-6 tiebreaker in the second. Cook fell behind 4-0 in the second set before fighting his way back to win a 9-7 tiebreaker and his sixth straight match. Nagy then followed with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Kranz in No. 1 singles. The two-time Southland Conference Player of the Year opened with an early 5-2 lead before Kranz answered with three straight games to knot the set at 5-5. Nagy then secured the win after winning two straight games. In the second set, the junior built an early 4-2 lead before earning the Islanders their third point of the day with a 6-4 second-set win. Nagy has won seven straight matches for an overall record of 19-3 at the No. 1 slot.
With the Islanders in front 3-0, Rauseo squeezed out a third-set tiebreaker at No. 5 singles to clinch the match for the Islanders. The sophomore breezed past Romain Lefevre, 6-0, in the first set before dropping a 7-6 (3) second set. In the third, Rauseo fell behind 5-4, before battling his way back to force a tiebreaker. In the tiebreaker, Rauseo jumped out early and maintained his lead to win 7-4 and clinch the match for the Islanders.
In the other three singles matches, Mayagoitia was leading 5-4 in the third set over Garcia in No. 2 singles, while Pujol was also in a third set, trailing Silva, 2-1, in No. 3 singles. In the final singles match, Westmoreland was going neck-and-neck with Gregor in the No. 4 slot in a third set. After a 28-point tiebreaker in the first set that led Gregor to a first-set win, Westmoreland garnered the second set, 6-4. In the third, Westmoreland was ahead 2-1 when the match was clinched.
The men's team returns to the finals for the second straight year for a chance to make their fifth trip to the NCAA Team Championships in the last seven years. The Islanders will face the Cardinals, who topped Nicholls 4-1 in the semifinal round.
On the women's side, the Islanders will also return to the finals after fighting out a 4-2 win over McNeese State. After falling behind 2-0, the Islanders clinched their next three singles matches to push ahead 3-2. In the final two singles matches the Islanders were forced to a third set after winning the first set on both courts. With Maider Martin ahead 5-4 in the third set in No. 3 singles, freshman Judit Vives clinched the match for the Islanders in the No. 2 slot after her opponent Sara Castellano was issued with a code violation in the third set.
"I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of our girls," Moore said. "I feel bad at how it ended, McNeese has had an amazing season. We beat them in a position that people would have given us the least chance at. They are great at one and two. They have superstars at one and two, and to win out there fighting and grinding like we did. Judit and Maider they never quit fighting. For our seniors, I think that everyone fought a little extra for those four special seniors, and you can't ask a team to fight harder than how we fought today. We beat a really, really good team and we beat them the hard way.
"We will see tomorrow, it's a rematch of last year's finals. Patric DuBois is good as a coach as there is in women's tennis in the country. Last year I thought we played a little tight in the finals and this year we are wiser, ready to fight one point at a time."
The women's team lost the doubles point after dropping two out of the three matches. The sophomore duo of Martin and Celia Rodriguez took care of business in No. 2 doubles with an 8-0 sweeping victory over Anastasia Surkova and Vivien Borbely. However, the Cowgirls answered back with consecutive wins on courts one and three to clinch the doubles point. Julia Kral and Annabelle Peacock defeated the Islanders duo of Stefania Nicolae and Kerry Galhos, 8-1, in the No. 3 slot, before Klaudia Gawlik and Castellano topped the senior-freshman pair of Sandra Burges and Vives, 8-1, in No. 1 doubles.
McNeese State built a 2-0 lead after Gawlik sealed a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Nicolae in No. 1 singles. The Islanders didn't give up though as they fought their way back with three straight-set singles wins. Galhos picked up a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Peacock in No. 6 singles before Rodriguez posted her 14th consecutive singles win in the No. 4 spot. The sophomore powered past Surkova, 6-2, 6-2, to improve to 21-3 and a perfect 17-0 in No. 4 singles. Burges then kept the rally going with a straight-set win over Borbely in No. 5 singles to push the Islanders in front 3-2. The senior won her sixth straight match to improve to 20-5 and 14-2 in the No. 5 spot.
The match then came down to the final two singles matches on courts two and three. Vives edged Castellano, 7-6 (1) in the first set before falling 6-1 in the second set. In the third, the Southland Conference First Team honoree broke serve to go ahead, 5-4, before Castellano slammed the ball against the back of the court for her second code violation, which resulted in a game penalty, and awarded Vives her sixth point of the set and the match. The Barcelona, Spain native has now won 13 straight matches for an impressive 19-1 singles record in her first year.
In the final singles match, Martin propelled to a 6-1 first-set win over Kral in No. 3 singles, before falling 6-4 in the second set. In the third, Martin pushed ahead 5-4 when the match was clinched.
The Islanders will take on the defending Southland Conference Tournament Champions Northwestern State in the finals at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The Islanders and Lady Demons shared the regular-season title after they both tallied an 11-1 record.
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Men's Tennis Match Results
New Orleans Privateers vs. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi
4/26/2014 at Corpus Christi, Texas
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 4, New Orleans Privateers 0
1. Peter Nagy (AMCC) def. Timo Kranz (UNOM) 7-5, 6-4
2. Ricardo Mayagoitia (AMCC) vs. Gonzalo Garcia (UNOM) 3-6, 6-3, 5-4, unfinished
3. Javier Pujol (AMCC) vs. Rui Silva (UNOM) 7-5, 4-6, 1-2, unfinished
4. Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) vs. Blake Gregor (UNOM) 6-7 (13-15), 6-4, 2-1, unfinished
5. Guillaume Rauseo (AMCC) def. Romain Lefevre (UNOM) 6-0, 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-4)
6. Paul Cook (AMCC) def. Chris Appelgren (UNOM) 6-1, 7-6 (9-7)
1. Peter Nagy/Guillaume Rauseo (AMCC) def. Timo Kranz/Gonzalo Garcia (UNOM) 8-2
2. Matt Westmoreland/Paul Cook (AMCC) vs. Blake Gregor/Luis Albuquerque (UNOM) 7-4, unfinished
3. Ricardo Mayagoitia/Javier Pujol (AMCC) def. Chris Appelgren/Rui Silva (UNOM) 8-5
New Orleans Privateers 6-11, 2-4 SLC
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 18-9, 6-0 SLC
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (6,1,5)
2014 Southland Conference Tournament
Women's Tennis Match Results
McNeese vs. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi
4/26/2014 at Corpus Christi, Texas
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 4, McNeese 2
1. Klaudia Gawlik (MCN) def. Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) 6-3, 6-0
2. Judit Vives (AMCC) def. Sara Castellano (MCN) 7-6 (7-1), 1-6, 6-4
3. Maider Martin (AMCC) vs. Julia Kral (MCN) 6-1, 4-6, 5-4, unfinished
4. Celia Rodriguez (AMCC) def. Anastasia Surkova (MCN) 6-2, 6-2
5. Sandra Burges (AMCC) def. Vivien Borbely (MCN) 6-4, 7-6 (7-2)
6. Kerry Galhos (AMCC) def. Annabelle Peacock (MCN) 6-4, 6-3
1. Klaudia Gawlik/Sara Castellano (MCN) def. Sandra Burges/Judit Vives (AMCC) 8-1
2. Maider Martin/Celia Rodriguez (AMCC) def. Anastasia Surkova/Vivien Borbely (MCN) 8-0
3. Julia Kral/Annabelle Peacock (MCN) def. Stefania Nicolae/Kerry Galhos (AMCC) 8-1
McNeese 16-7, 10-2 SLC
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 21-5, 11-1 SLC
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (1,4,6,5,2)
2014 Southland Conference Tournament