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Defending Champ Aggies Set to Open Big 12s

April 26, 2012
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
COLLEGE STATION, Texas-The defending Big 12 Championship Texas A&M men's tennis team is set to open the 2012 Big 12 Championships against arch-rival Texas at 12 noon on Friday, Apr. 27 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center on the Texas A&M campus.

This will mark the fourth meeting this spring between the Aggies and the Longhorns. A&M won the Texas Cup in Houston by a 4-3 margin. A week later, Texas won 4-1 at the National Indoor Team Championships played in Virginia. In Big 12 play, Texas won in Austin by a slim 4-3 decision.

"We are very excited to host the Big 12 Championships here in Aggieland," Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. "For everyone the season starts over and we are eager to get another shot at the Horns. This has been a highly competitive Big 12 Conference with so many close matches thus far. I anticipate a very exciting tournament this weekend. I hope the 12th Man will be out in full force starting at noon on Friday. We are hosting Texas for the last time in the foreseeable future. I anticipate a big effort from our team. I know our seniors are especially excited to play at home as we try to win back-to-back Big 12 Championship titles."

The Aggies, ranked No. 34 in the country, are 12-13 on the year after facing one of the most difficult schedules in the country. A&M went 1-4 in league play with three of those losses by 4-3 scores.

The Longhorns, ranked No. 18 in the land, are 16-8 on the season and 2-3 in the league.

Leading the way for Texas A&M are three seniors, Colin Hoover from Victoria, Texas, Alexis Klegou from Dunkerque, France, and John Lewis from Birmingham, Alabama. Hoover and KIegou have served as co-captains this year and Hoover was recently crowned the Big 12 No. 3 singles champion. Klegou, a Big 12 Champion at No. 4 singles last spring, has played the majority of time at No. 1 singles and is currently ranked No. 34. Lewis has been a bright spot in the Aggie lineup both in singles as well as teaming with Niall Angus and Hoover in doubles. Lewis put together a five-match winning streak that included a win over USC's Yannick Hanfmann who was ranked No. 30 at the time.

In doubles play, the top Aggie duo is No. 47-ranked freshman Jackson Withrow (Omaha, Nebraska) and sophomore Junior Ore (Gaithersburg, Maryland). The doubles tandem of Hoover and Lewis are ranked No. 79 in the land.

BIG 12 MEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE:
Friday, Apr. 27
(4) Texas vs. (5) Texas A&M-12 noon
(3) Baylor vs. (6) Oklahoma State-9 am

Saturday, Apr. 28 (Semifinals)
(1) Oklahoma vs. Texas-Texas A&M winner-11 am
(2) Texas Tech vs. Baylor-Oklahoma State winner-11 am

Sunday, Apr. 29 (Finals):
Championship Match-12 noon

BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP AGGIE HISTORY: The Aggies have won the Big 12 Championships on four occasions--1998, 2000, 2001 and 2011. The 1998 championships were held in Lincoln, Nebraska, the 2000 match was in Kansas City, Missouri, and the 2001 and 2011championships were held in Waco, Texas. A&M has reached the championship match three other times. In 2010 in Austin, A&M dropped a 4-3 decision to host Texas. In 2004, A&M fell to Baylor, 4-0, in Norman, Oklahoma. In 2002, A&M faced Baylor in the title match in College Station and dropped a 4-2 decision. In 2001, A&M beat Texas in Waco, 4-1. The 2000 title match was a 4-1 Aggie decision over Baylor in Kansas City. 1998 was the Aggies' first appearance in the title match and came away with a 4-0 win over Texas in Lincoln.

TOUGH COMPETITION: The Aggies have faced a challenging schedule which has helped prepare them for the Big 12 Championships and the NCAA Championships. The ranked Big 12 clubs are Oklahoma (#12), Texas (#18), Texas Tech (#19) and Baylor (#28). A&M faced USC (#1), Ohio State (#3), Virginia (#4), Kentucky (#6), Mississippi State (#9), Tulsa (#20), LSU (#21), Illinois (#24) and Notre Dame (#29) in the current Top 30.

TICKET INFORMATION: Go online to AggieAthletics.com or 12thManFoundation.com and click on tickets, or call 1-888-99-AGGIE.

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