HOUSTON - The 11th-ranked Texas A&M men's tennis team (4-1) will travel to Houston on Friday (Feb. 10) to face the 15th-ranked Texas Longhorns (5-1) in the annual Texas Cup, a non-conference dual match, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at The Downtown Club at the Met (340 West Dallas Street, Houston, TX 77002 and phone is 713-652-0700). Cost is $10 for adults, students and children will be admitted free of charge.
"Playing Texas in any sport, at any time is a big deal," Aggie head coach Steve Denton said. "It is even more significant as we end this storied rivalry for the time being. Both teams are trying to bounce back from a loss at Virginia last weekend and we are both looking to gain confidence going into the National Indoor Championships next week. The Horns have gotten the better of us in our last meetings indoors in Houston, but we have won three out of the last four matches between our two schools. Both squads have a lot of new faces, but they will learn very quickly that this match is special as the competition is fierce on both sides of the net."
This will mark the third straight Top 15 opponent for Texas A&M as the Aggies defeated No. 14-ranked Mississippi State (4-3) in College Station and then dropped a tough 6-1 decision to second-ranked Virginia in Charlottesville last Sunday. The Longhorns only loss was also to Virginia as the Cavaliers beat Texas, 7-0, last Friday in Charlottesville.
Both Texas A&M and Texas have earned a trip to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships which will be hosted by Virginia, Feb. 17-20. Texas A&M defeated the highest ranked opponent not to qualify in defeating the MSU Bulldogs, ranked No. 14. The field of 16 includes: USC (1), Virginia (2), Ohio State (3), Georgia (4), Florida (5), Kentucky (6), Baylor (7), UCLA (8), Stanford (9), Duke (10), Texas A&M (11), Pepperdine (12), Cal (13), Texas (T14), Auburn (16), and Tennessee (20).
This marks the fifth year for the Texas Cup to be held in Houston. Last February, the fifth-ranked Horns edged the 10th-ranked Aggies, 4-3, indoors. The Aggies bounced back and defeated the Horns in the Big 12 regular-season finale in College Station, 5-2, and then swept the Horns, 4-0, in the Big 12 Championships semifinals match as the Aggies would go on to win the Big 12 Championships held in Waco last spring.
The Aggies and Longhorns will face each other again on Saturday, Apr. 14, in Austin in a Big 12 regular-season match.
The youthful Aggie lineup against Virginia had a redshirt freshman, Jackson Withrow, and a sophomore, Junior Ore, playing at the No. 1 doubles position. Another redshirt freshman, Jordan Szabo, teamed with senior co-captain Alexis Klegou at the No. 2 doubles and then senior co-captain Colin Hoover played with fellow senior John Lewis at No. 3 doubles. The two senior co-captains were at the top of the singles lineup with Klegou at No. 1 and Hoover at No. 2. They were followed by sophomore Junior Ore at No. 3, true freshman Jeremy Efferding at No. 4 and redshirt freshman Jackson Withrow at No. 5 single. Senior John Lewis has won three straight matches at No. 6 singles.
In the latest ITA player rankings, Klegou is ranked No. 19, Efferding is No. 73 and Ore is No. 104. The Horns have Daniel Whitehead ranked No. 112 in singles and the doubles tandem of Chris Camillone and David Holiner are ranked No. 48.
After the Friday match, the Aggies will head to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to face the No. 23-ranked Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Sunday (Feb. 12). First serve at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center on the campus of Tulsa at 12 noon.