Columbia, S.C. - Texas A&M got its first win in the Southeastern Conference Friday evening by defeating No. 43 South Carolina, 4-1, at the Carolina Tennis Center. No. 11 Texas A&M improves to 9-4 with a 1-0 mark in conference play while South Carolina falls to 9-5 and 0-1 in conference.
"This was an historic win for us today as we embark in our new conference," Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. "It was very important for us to get things rolling quickly in the SEC. I'm extremely proud of this team and the way they battled for the victory today."
The 21st ranked pair of Harry Adams and Shane Vinsant made quick work of Kyle Koch and Harry Menzies, only dropping one game, to clinch the first doubles match for the Aggies, 8-1, at the No. 2 line. After several tense minutes, the sophomore pair of Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo never trailed in their match, downing Ben Barnette and Thiago Pinheiro, 8-5, from the No. 3 doubles line to clinch the critical doubles point.
"Our No. 2 doubles was able to get us off to a really good start, winning 8-1," Denton said. "Jeremy and Jordan followed suit in their match, winning 8-5. That really helped us get our momentum rolling into singles."
90th ranked Vinsant carried his momentum from doubles into his singles play as he bested Pinheiro, 6-3, 6-1, from the No. 4 line to boost the Aggies lead to 2-0. 105th ranked Tsvetan Mihov narrowed South Carolina's deficit to 2-1, when he defeated Junior Ore, 6-4, 6-3, from the No. 1 line. That would be the only point the Gamecocks would muster as Behzad Minavi would further A&M's lead with a victory in straight-sets, 6-1, 7-5, over Menzies at the No. 6 line. Pushed into a second set tiebreaker after cruising to a 6-0 win in the first set, Texas A&M clinched the match behind the racket of Efferding, as he won the tiebreaker in dramatic fashion, 7-5, to give the Aggies their first victory in their new conference.
"Jordan, playing up a position because we had to pull out Jackson because of an injury, won a tiebreaker 12-10 to really change the feel of the match in our favor," Denton said on singles. "Shane was able to win comfortably to put us up 2-0. With Shane's win and Jordan's first set tie-breaking win coming just minutes apart, momentum really swung in our favor and helped carry us through the remainder of the match. Jeremy was able to win his tiebreaker and seal-the-deal for us."
The men's tennis team continues the conference road tour, as it travels to Gainesville for a match with the Florida Gators. First serve has been moved up 30 minutes to accommodate the Aggies travel plans. The match will start at 12:30 p.m. (CT). To learn more about the Texas A&M men's tennis team, visit AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter.
No. 11 Texas A&M def. No. 43 South Carolina, 4-1
No. 1 - No. 105 Tsvetan Mihov, USC def. Junior Ore, A&M 6-4, 6-3
No. 2 - Harrison Adams, A&M vs. Andrew Adams, 2-6, 6-4, 2-0 (unfinished)
No. 3 - Jeremy Efferding, A&M def. Chip Cox, USC 6-0, 7-6 (5)
No. 4 - No. 90 Shane Vinsant, A&M def. Thiago Pinheiro, USC 6-3, 6-1
No. 5 - Jordan Szabo, A&M vs. Kyle Koch, USC 7-6 (10), 5-2 (unfinished)
No. 6 - Behzad Minavi, A&M def. Menzies, USC 6-1, 7-5
No. 1 - No. 17 Ore/Withrow, A&M vs. No. 33 Cox/Mihov, USC 6-7
No. 2 - No. 21 Adams/Vinsant, A&M def. Koch/Menzies, USC 8-1
No. 3 - Efferding/Szabo, A&M def. Barnette/Pinheiro, USC 8-5
Order of finish: Doubles 2, 3 Singles 4, 1, 6, 3*
Texas A&M (9-4) (1-0 SEC); South Carolina (9-5) (0-1 SEC)
*clinched the match