URBANA, Illinois – The 11th
-ranked and No. 12 seed Texas A&M men’s tennis team dropped a 4-0 decision to the No. 5 seed Ohio State Buckeyes in the round of 16 at the University of Illinois’ Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at the Atkins Tennis Center. The Aggies season, which featured an SEC Western Division championship, comes to a close with a final record of 19-13 with only two one senior on the roster.
“I’m extremely proud of this team,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “They grew up as the season progressed. It’s disappointing that it had to come to an end like this, but the best tennis for this team is ahead of us. Ohio State played well today. You have to give them credit.”
Unlike the earlier matchup this season, the Aggies were unable to claim the doubles point in the contest. The 29th-ranked freshman tandem of Harry Adams and Shane Vinsant claimed the first doubles victory, 8-5, at the No. 2 line over 90th-ranked team of Devin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen. Minutes later, the No. 12 duo of Peter Kobelt and Connor Smith upset the All-American pair of Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow, 8-4, at the top doubles line. With the early 1-0 edge on the line, the tandem of Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo were unable to break serve and force the match into a tiebreaker as they fell to the 50th-ranked team of Blaz Rola and Kevin Metka, 8-6, at the No. 3 doubles line.
The Buckeyes carried their hot-start from winning the doubles point into the early games in singles by winning four-of-six first sets.
At the No. 5 line, Van Engelen was dominant in the first set, winning six-consecutive games after falling behind 1-0 to Withrow. After falling behind, 2-5, the Omaha, Neb., native won three-straight games to knot the score at 5-5 in the second set. The sophomore couldn’t keep his momentum rolling; however, as he dropped his next two games to drop the set and the match, 6-1, 7-5.
Leading 2-0, Ohio State expanded on its lead from the No. 2 line when eighth-ranked Kobelt rallied from an early 0-2 deficit in the first set to win 6-4 over 100th-ranked Ore. The junior couldn’t find a groove in the second set, as he came up just short, losing 6-4, 7-6 (4), in straight sets to push OSU’s lead to 3-0.
Adams, the No. 103 ranked player in the ITA rankings, came back after dropping his first set to 71st-ranked Connor Smith, 6-4, by winning six of the next seven games to take the second set, 6-1. In the third set, however, the freshman from New Braunfels dropped his final three games to concede the match, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.
The match was much closer than the score indicated. Efferding and Szabo were both either leading or within a game of their opponents in their respective matches at the Nos. 1 and 6 lines. 18th-ranked Efferding claimed his first set 6-3 but dropped his second 5-7 and hadn’t served in the third set before the match was called. Szabo claimed his first set 6-3 but dropped his second set, 4-6. The Australian led in the third set, 3-1, before the final point had been decided. Finally, 76th-ranked Vinsant was on the verge of forcing a tiebreaker in the second set before the match was decided.
Texas A&M will be in action again later this month when it sends five players to the NCAA individual championships in Urbana, Ill., following the conclusion of the team event. To learn more about the men’s tennis team, visit AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter.
No. 5 Ohio State def. No. 11 Texas A&M, 4-0
No. 1 – No. 18 Jeremy Efferding, A&M vs. No. 12 Blaz Rola, OSU 6-3, 5-7, 0-1 (unfinished)
No. 2 – No. 8 Peter Kobelt, OSU def. No. 100 Junior Ore, A&M 6-4, 7-6 (4)
No. 3 – No. 71 Connor Smith, OSU def. No. 103 Harry Adams, A&M 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
No. 4 – No. 76 Shane Vinsant, A&M vs. No. 73 Devin McCarthy, OSU 6-7 (2), 5-6 (unfinished)
No. 5 – Ille Van Engelen, OSU def. Jackson Withrow, A&M 6-1, 7-5
No. 6 – Jordan Szabo, A&M vs. No. 104 Chris Diaz, OSU 6-3, 4-6, 3-1 (unfinished)
No. 1 – No. 12 Kobelt/Smith, OSU def. No. 8 Ore/Withrow, A&M 8-4
No. 2 – No. 29 Adams/Vinsant, A&M def. No. 90 McCarthy/Van Engelen, OSU 8-5
No. 3 – No. 50 Rola/Metka, OSU def. Efferding/Szabo, A&M 8-6
Order of finish: Doubles 2, 1, 3 Singles 5, 2, 3
*clinched the match
Texas A&M (19-13); Ohio State (34-2)