Aggies Cruise to 5-2 Victory Over Vanderbilt
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The 14th-ranked Texas A&M men's tennis team cruised to a 5-2 victory over 19th-ranked Vanderbilt on Friday night at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in front of 266 fans. The Aggies improve to 10-5 on the year and 2-1 in SEC play. The Commodores fall to 11-4 and 2-1 in SEC play.
"That's the best start we've had all season," Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. "We jumped on them from all three courts in doubles. I thought we had a lot of energy. That's a great start for us in our first home SEC match. We were able to continue that momentum in the singles. I thought our guys played very well tonight. I thought we competed hard. We played a really good team tonight. I'm very pleased with our effort."
Texas A&M easily claimed the doubles point as it built a three game lead on all three courts. The Aggies improve to 6-1 in conference play doubles overall with the two victories. The 21st-ranked freshmen pair of Harry Adams and Shane Vinsant built a five-game lead on their way to an 8-2 victory at the No. 2 line over Gonzales Austin and Suresh Eswaran. It was a race between the two remaining tandems to see which would earn the critical win for the squad. The 15th-ranked duo of Jackson Withrow and Junior Ore defeated Ryan Lipman and Marc van der Merwe, 8-3, at the No. 1 line to clinch the point for the Aggies. The sophomore tandem of Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo narrowly missed gaining a win as they finished their match ahead of their counterparts, Jeff Offerdahl and Rhys Johnson, 7-2.
"I was very pleased with how we finished," Denton said on doubles. "We got up a break and we weren't satisfied by just getting up one break a serve. We were trying to get ahead and continue to keep the pressure on them. Not only did we start well, we also finished well. That was the best doubles we've played thus far this season."
The momentum from winning the doubles point carried Texas A&M through the first sets in singles as the Aggies won five-of-six first sets. Adams downed Offerdahl, 6-3, 6-2, at the No. 3 line to push the Aggie advantage to 2-0. Behzad Minavi rolled through Johnson 6-3, 6-2, at the No. 6 position to force Vanderbilt to win on the remaining courts to clinch the match. Efferding made sure that didn't happen as he upset 41st-ranked Gonzales Austin, 6-3, 6-3, at the No. 2 line to clinch the victory for Texas A&M. No. 90 Vinsant overcame some adversity in his second set, rallying back from a 3-5 deficit by winning four straight games to win his match, 6-4, 7-5, at the No. 4 position to sweeten the victory. Ore's upset bid of No. 25 Lipman fell just short, as he couldn't take advantage in the third set, falling 2-6, 7-5, 10-6, at the No. 1 line. Szabo couldn't consistently maintain his momentum, which eventually cost him the match, 7-5, 7-6 (4).
"I was very happy we were able to keep the momentum from the doubles," Denton said. "We were able to win five-of-six first sets and kept the pressure on them. I knew they would make a run at us and they did in a lot of the second sets. Our guys stayed the course pretty well and kept the momentum on our side to get the win."
Texas A&M will be in action again on Sunday when it hosts fifth-ranked Kentucky and Prairie View A&M at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively. Currently the matches are still on as scheduled. Stay tuned to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter for more information regarding any possible changes to the matches because of inclement weather.
No. 14 Texas A&M def. No. 19 Vanderbilt, 5-2
No. 1 - No. 25 Ryan Lipman, VU def. Junior Ore, A&M 2-6, 7-5, 10-6
*No. 2 - Jeremy Efferding, A&M def. No. 41 Gonzales Austin, VU 6-3, 6-3
No. 3 - Harry Adams, A&M def. Jeff Offerdahl, VU 6-3, 6-2
No. 4 - No. 90 Shane Vinsant, A&M def. Marc van der Merwe, VU 6-4, 7-5
No. 5 - Kriss Yee, VU def. Jordan Szabo, A&M 7-5, 7-6 (4)
No. 6 - Behzad Minavi, A&M def. Rhys Johnson, VU 6-2, 6-3
No. 1 - No. 15 Ore/Withrow, A&M vs. Lipman/Austin, VU 8-3
No. 2 - No. 21 Adams/Vinsant, A&M def. Offerdahl/van der Merwe, VU 8-2
No. 3 - Efferding/Szabo, A&M vs. Yee/Johnson, VU 7-2 (unfinished)
Order of finish: Doubles 2, 1 Singles 3, 6, 2*, 4, 1, 5
*clinched the match
Texas A&M (10-5, 2-1 SEC); Vanderbilt (11-4, 2-1 SEC)