Aggies rally to upset No. 4 Ohio State
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 15 Texas A&M men's tennis team upset No. 4 Ohio State on Sunday in front of 281 fans at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station. With the win, Texas A&M improves to 7-0 while Ohio State drops its first match at 8-1. The Aggies are off to their best start in 19 years when the 1994 team started 19-0. The win marks the highest ranked opponent Texas A&M has defeated since knocking off No. 4 Baylor, 4-3, on April 12, 2006.
"To play a team like this in the home-opener and to finish with this kind of result is incredible," men's tennis head coach Steve Denton said. "I couldn't ask for a better start from this team. Both of our freshmen came through for us today. They're great players and they showed that this afternoon. This is a really exciting win for this young team."
Texas A&M earned the crucial doubles point with a thrilling victory from the 6th ranked duo of Harry Adams and Shane Vinsant at the No. 2 position. The freshmen pair, down two-breaks early, rallied in the tie-break set to defeat Devin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen, 8-7 (5). Adams, playing near the net, returned a volley from near the scorers stand around the net to earn the point for the Aggies. Earlier the pair of Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow moved ahead early and never looked back against Peter Kobelt and Connor Smith, 8-5, from the No. 1 line. The Aggies dropped their first doubles set on the season when Ohio State's Blaz Rola and Hunter Callahan outlasted a late rally from Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo, 8-6 at the No. 3 slot.
"For us to win No. 1 and 2 doubles was key for us today," Denton said on the doubles matches. "Our guys did a great job. We were down a break at No. 2 but our freshmen came through and were able to have the shot of the year for us to clinch the doubles point."
Ohio State claimed the first singles point to even the match at one when Rola downed Ore, 6-4, 2-6 at the No. 1 line. Texas A&M quickly retook the lead when Vinsant defeated 30th ranked Chris Diaz, 6-1, 6-4 at the No. 4 slot. The Aggies increased their lead to 3-1 when Withrow battled through pain to upset No. 13 Connor Smith, 6-3, 6-4 at the No. 5 position. Ohio State would rally for the next two points with wins from Callahan over No. 87 Szabo, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 at the No. 6 line and No. 1 Kobelt over No. 103 Efferding, 6-4, 7-6 (1) at the No. 2 slot. With the match tied at three, all eyes fell on the freshman Adams. After Adams won the first set 6-3, McCarthy took the second set 6-4 to force a tie-breaker set to decide the match. After a vicious back and forth, Adams took the lead for good on a double-fault from the senior from Ohio State. The New Braunfels native placed a forehand winner in the corner out of the reach of McCarthy to clinch the match for the Aggies.
"All the matches were outstanding today," Denton said on the singles results. "Blaz Rola is an exceptional tennis player. Today he was just a little better than Junior (Ore). Peter Kobelt had some outstanding serves against Jeremy (Efferding) which really dictated the tie-breaker. Our freshmen came through at the three and four lines. Jackson (Withrow) had a gutsy effort. He's been battling through some injuries and he came out firing today. I'm really pleased with his effort. He came through with flying colors for us. "
Texas A&M travels to Seattle next weekend for the ITA Indoor championship. Stay tuned to AggieAthletics.com for more information regarding the tournament. To learn more about the men's tennis team, follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter.
#15 Texas A&M 4, #4 Ohio State 3
No. 1 - Blaz Rola, OSU def. Junior Ore, A&M 6-4, 6-2
No. 2 - #1 Peter Kobelt, OSU def. #103 Jeremy Efferding, A&M 6-4, 7-6 (1)
*No. 3 - Harry Adams, A&M def. Devin McCarthy, OSU 6-3, 4-6, 7-5
No. 4 - Shane Vinsant, A&M def. #30 Chris Diaz, OSU 6-1,6-4
No. 5 - Jackson Withrow, A&M def. #13 Connor Smith, 6-3, 6-4
No. 6 - Hunter Callahan, OSU def. #87 Jordan Szabo, A&M 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
No. 1 - Ore/Withrow, A&M def. Kobelt/Smith, OSU 8-5
No. 2 - No. 6 Adams/Vinsant, A&M def. McCarthy/Van Engelen, OSU 8-7 (7-5)
No. 3 - Rola/Callahan, OSU def. Efferding/Szabo, A&M 8-6
Order of finish: Doubles 1, 3, 2 Singles 1, 4, 5, 6, 2, 3
*Clinched the match
Texas A&M (7-0), Ohio State (8-1)