COLLEGE STATION, TX - Senior co-captain Colin Hoover clinched the match at No. 3 singles to lead the Texas A&M tennis team (10-8) over the SMU Mustangs (8-7) by a score of 7-0 in front of 258 fans at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center on Sunday afternoon.
The doubles tandem of sophomore Junior Ore and redshirt freshman Jackson Withrow, who are ranked No. 22 in the nation, finished first at the No. 1 doubles line with an 8-5 victory. The order of finish continued on down the line with senior Co-Captains Alexis Klegou and Colin Hoover winning at the No. 2 line 8-3. About a minute later at the No. 3 line senior John Lewis and redshirt freshman Jordan Szabo finished off the doubles sweep with an 8-4 win.
Hoover completed the biggest comeback of the day after being down 2-5 and his opponent controlling the serve, the senior captain won five straight games, including three breaks, to win the second set 7-5 and clinch the match point for the Aggies.
The singles scoring was started by Lewis at the No. 4 court with his victory coming in a quick 6-4, 6-3 win. Lewis was followed by Szabo on court five winning his with a score of 6-3, 6-2.
Ore also impressed in his second appearance at the No. 2 line this season with a convincing 6-4, 6-2 win to improve his record at that line to 2-0. Head coach Steve Denton said of Ore, "He is playing his best tennis since he got here to A&M and maybe playing the best tennis on our whole team right now... Winning breeds confidence and he has been winning, so things are looking good for him."
The final two matches both went to three sets, with Klegou at the No. 1 line and Withrow at the No. 6 line. Klegou, who is ranked No. 27 in the nation, took the first set easily, and then struggled through the second set and the beginning of the third set. But after losing a game that took around 15 minutes because of double digit deuces to put him down 1-3, he won six of the next eight games to take the third set 7-5, and win 6-1, 3-6, 7-5. "It was good for his confidence to win a tough match like that. When you are able to not play your best, but still be able to get through it and get the victory, it helps you as you move forward with the season." Denton said of Klegou's match.
Withrow took the whole match down to the wire, but came out victorious in a third set tiebreaker in the longest grind out match of the contest, winning 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5). Denton said, "Jackson Withrow came through when it counted and got the win down here at six, and that's good for him and the team."
When asked about Big 12 play starting soon, Denton replied, "We got to rest some guys who needed rest, and got to play some guys who needed matches, and I think those are both important things as we head into Big 12 play."
The Aggies next match of the season will be the opening game to Big 12 play this season, as they host the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Friday March 31 at 6:00 pm.
No. 22 Texas A&M 7, SMU 0
1 - (27) Alexis Klegou, A&M def. Gaston Cuadranti, SMU - 6-1, 3-6, 7-5
2 - Junior Ore, A&M def. Pablo Perez-Esnaola, SMU - 6-4, 6-2
3 - Colin Hoover, A&M def. Arturs Kazijevs, SMU - 6-1, 7-5
4 - John Lewis, A&M def. Mischa Nowicki, SMU - 6-4, 6-3
5 - Jordan Szabo, A&M def. Tobias Flood, SMU - 6-3, 6-2
6 - Jackson Withrow, A&M def. Joseph Hattrup, SMU - 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5)
1 - (22) Ore/Withrow, A&M def. Perez/Nowicki, SMU - 8-5
2 - Klegou/Hoover, A&M def. Kazijevs/Flood, SMU - 8-3
3 - Szabo/Lewis, A&M def. Sajovich/Hattrup, SMU - 8-4
Order of Finish:
Doubles 1, 2, 3
Singles 4, 5, 3*, 2, 1, 6 (* - Clinched match)
Season Records: Texas A&M 10-8, SMU 8-7