COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M men's tennis team got back to its winning ways on Friday afternoon at the George P. Mitchell Center, downing No. 17 Tulsa, 5-2. Texas A&M improves to 8-3 on the season while the Golden Hurricanes fall to 5-5.
"Overall I was pleased with the team win," men's tennis head coach Steve Denton said. "I thought this was going to be a really tricky match for us. Tulsa's a very good team. They've beaten some really good teams already this season. It was good for us to get that bad taste from Seattle out of our mouth and be able to play well as a team tonight and get this victory."
Texas A&M took an early edge by claiming the critical doubles point. The sophomore duo of Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo quickly downed Japie De Klerk and Carlos Bautista, 8-2, from the No. 3 line to win the first match in doubles play. Seconds later, the seventh-ranked freshmen tandem of Harry Adams and Shane Vinsant bested Grant Ive and Tristan Jackson, 8-2, at the No. 2 slot to clinch the doubles point. Both pairs were dominant early, as Tulsa never came within two games of the Aggies.
"We did a good job in the doubles," Denton who's in his seventh season at the realms of the team, said. "We were able to get on top of them and able to secure the doubles point. I was pleased with that.
Adams, the 124th ranked singles player, wasted no time expanding A&M's lead to 2-0 when he ousted Alejandro Espejo, 6-2, 6-4, from the No. 3 line. After a vicious back-and-forth, Junior Ore was unable to upset No. 101 Clifford Marsland at the No. 1 line, putting Tulsa on the board, trailing 2-1. Jordan Szabo was in the zone as he rocked the Golden Hurricanes' Tristan Jackson, 6-3, 6-3, from the No. 5 slot. The Australia native never trailed in the match and won the first three games in each set. Behzad Minavi was a late addition to the singles rotation, but he looked ready for the part as he clinched the match by defeating Bautista in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, at the No. 6 position. Tulsa earned its second point after the match had been decided. 54th ranked De Klerk withstood a late rally from Efferding to win 6-3, 6-4, at the No. 2 line. After exchanging sets, 6-3 and 4-6, No. 67 Vinsant outlasted Ive, winning the tiebreaker 10-7.
"After we secured the doubles point, it got pretty complicated," Denton said. "The match was pretty close in a lot of spots. We were able to secure some first sets and keep the momentum. A lot of the singles matches were routine matches on both sides. The ones they were ahead, they continued to dominate and the ones that we were ahead, we were able to secure. I'm very glad we were able to get our momentum back."
Texas A&M returns to action on Sunday against No. 8 Oklahoma. First serve is slated for 1 p.m. on Sunday at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station. To learn more about the men's tennis team, visit AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter.
No. 14 Texas A&M def. No. 17 Tulsa, 5-2
No. 1 - No. 101 Clifford Marsland, Tulsa def. Junior Ore, A&M 6-3, 6-4
No. 2 - No. 54 Japie De Klerk, TULSA def. Jeremy Efferding, A&M 6-3, 6-4
No. 3 - No. 124 Harry Adams, A&M def. Alejandro Espejo, TULSA 6-2, 6-4
No. 4 - No. 67 Shane Vinsant, A&M def. Grant Ive, TULSA 6-3, 4-6, 10-7
No. 5 - Jordan Szabo, A&M def. Tristan Jackson, TULSA 6-3, 6-3
No. 6 - Behzad Minavi, A&M def. Carlos Bautista, TULSA 6-4, 6-4
No. 1 - No. 40 Withrow/Ore, A&M vs. Marsland/Espejo, TULSA 4-4 (Unfinished)
No. 2 - No. 7 Adams/Vinsant, A&M def. Ive/Jackson, TULSA 8-2
No. 3 - Szabo/Efferding, A&M def. De Klerk/Bautista, TULSA 8-2
Order of finish: Doubles 3,2 Singles 3, 1, 5, 6, 2, 4
*clinched the match
Texas A&M (8-3), Tulsa (5-5)