COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 11th-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team defeated Marist, 4-0, in the NCAA First Round at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station on Friday afternoon. The Aggies improve to 18-12 on the year and advance to the second round for a matchup with the 21st-ranked Texas Longhorns. The Longhorns punched their ticket to the second round by knocking off Texas A&M-Corpus Christi earlier on Friday. First serve is slated for 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon at the Mitchell Tennis Center and live scoring and video will be available on AggieAthletics.com.
“It felt good for us to get back out there and compete this afternoon,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “We haven’t competed in a couple of weeks. I thought this match was what we expected. I thought our guys were pretty sharp initially in both doubles and singles. We lost our concentration a little bit and Marist came back around in some of the second sets. It was good for us to be tested but not so tested that we won’t have fresh legs tomorrow.”
The pair of Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo downed the duo of Fredrik Bjerke and Dalen Klassen, 8-3, at the No. 2 line for the first doubles victory. The sophomore pair built a five game lead to take a 6-1 lead before coasting through the last four games to earn the victory. With the victory, the team is now tied for second on the team in doubles victories with a 14-9 record.
Junior Ore and Niall Angus teamed up at the No. 3 doubles line and secured the point for the Aggies. The tandem of upperclassmen dropped the first game before winning three-straight and seven-of-nine on their way to an 8-4 victory. The match marked the first time that Angus and Ore played together as a doubles pair this season.
With a 1-0 lead, A&M built on the momentum it had gained from the doubles point to win all six first sets in singles. In the second sets, however, Marist made a push and put the Aggies on their toes by taking several crucial points in several of the second sets.
Shane Vinsant, a second team All-SEC honoree, pushed the Aggies lead to 2-0 by downing Will Reznek, 6-1, 6-2, from the No. 3 line. The No. 76-ranked player in the country built a 5-0 lead in the first set before dropping his first game and built a 3-0 lead in the second set on his way to the victory. With the victory, Vinsant earned his 20th-dual match victory on the season.
The Aggies expanded their lead to 3-0 when 100th-ranked Junior Ore cruised in straight sets to the 6-0, 6-3 victory over Lorenzo Rossi at the No. 1 line. After both players held serve through the first six games, Ore was able to break Rossi’s serve twice through the final three games to stake the Maroon and White a 3-0 lead.
With Marist making a late surge, there were some questions as to where the final point would come from. Angus stepped up to the challenge and rallied back from a 1-3 deficit in the second set by winning five-straight games to cap off the match with a 6-3, 6-3 victory in straight sets.
“Niall is our lone senior on the team; it’s fitting for him to clinch the match for us today,” Denton said on Angus’ performance. “He had a pretty bad injury in the fall and is just now coming back into his own. For him to be the team captain and clinch the first match in the NCAA tournament as a senior is something that’s special to him and he’s obviously helping us moving forward.”
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No. 11 Texas A&M def. Marist, 4-0
No. 1 – No. 100 Junior Ore, A&M vs. Lorenzo Rossi, MC 6-0, 6-3
No. 2 – No. 103 Harry Adams, A&M vs. Dalen Klassen, MC 6-3, 3-4 (unfinished)
No. 3 – No. 76 Shane Vinsant, A&M vs. Will Reznek, MC 6-1, 6-2
No. 4 – Jordan Szabo, A&M vs. Joris Van Eck, MC 6-1, 1-6 (unfinished)
No. 5 – Behzad Minavi, A&M vs. Joseph Dube, MC 6-3, 3-3 (unfinished)
*No. 6 – Niall Angus, A&M vs. Fredrik Bjerke, MC 6-3, 6-3
No. 1 – No. 29 Adams/Vinsant, A&M vs. Bishop/Klassen, MC 7-1 (unfinished)
No. 2 – Efferding/Szabo, A&M def. Bjerke/Nagelstad, MC 8-3
No. 3 – Ore/Angus, A&M def. Rossi/Van Eck, MC 8-4
Order of finish: Doubles 2, 3 Singles 3, 1, 6
*clinched the match
Texas A&M 18-12; Marist 17-4