AUBURN, Ala. – The 12th-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team dropped its fourth-consecutive match to a ranked opponent when it fell to 27th-ranked Auburn, 4-3, at the Yarbrough Tennis Center in Auburn, Alabama. The Aggies fall to 13-11 and 4-5 in the SEC while the Tigers improve to 13-7 and 5-5 in conference.
“This was another four hour SEC battle tonight,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “I’m proud of how we fought. The law of averages means these close matches will begin to fall our way if we keep doing the right things. These battles are toughening up our guys.”
For the third time in its last four matches, Texas A&M was unable to secure the doubles point and jump out to a 1-0 lead. Auburn took the first doubles match, putting the pressure on Texas A&M to win both the remaining contests to clinch the point. The fifth-ranked pair of Daniel Cochrane and Andreas Mies held serve against the 12th-ranked duo of Jackson Withrow and Junior Ore, 8-4, at the top doubles position. Moments later, Jordan Szabo and Jeremy Efferding bested Lukas Ollert and Joseph Van Dooren, 8-4, at the No. 3 line to force the deciding match for the doubles point at the No. 2 line. The 25th-ranked freshmen tandem of Harry Adams and Shane Vinsant were upset in the tiebreaker, 9-8 (4), by Dennis Lengsfeld and Lucas Lopasso to put the Tigers ahead, 1-0.
Singles would prove to be a tighter contest than the doubles turned out to be for A&M. The Aggies and Tigers split the first two sets in half the matches and another four singles sets were decided by tiebreakers. Senior Niall Angus tied the match at 1-1 when he downed Van Dooren, 7-6 (7), 6-3, at the No. 6 line. Auburn would retake the lead when Adams fell to Lengsfeld, 6-4, 7-6 (3), at the No. 3 line. 40th-ranked Efferding’s upset-bid fell just short as he fell to No. 34 Mies, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, at the No. 1 line to push Auburn’s lead to 3-1. The Aggies would rally back to tie the match when Behzad Minavi rallied back to win his match after dropping his first set, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, at the No. 5 line and Ore won a tightly contested affair against 106th-ranked Cochrane, 7-6 (5), 6-4, at the No. 2 line. The pressure of the match then fell to the No. 4 line. 93rd-ranked Vinsant’s late rally came up just short against 105th-ranked Lengsfeld as the freshman was defeated, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4.
“I’m proud of our guys winning three first set tiebreakers in singles and winning five first sets after dropping the doubles point,” Denton said. “We are learning and getting closer and closer. I really like this team and I know good things are going to happen.”
Texas A&M will be in action again on Sunday when it travels to Tuscaloosa for a dual match with the Alabama Crimson Tide. First serve has been moved up to noon in that match. To learn more about the Aggie men’s tennis team, visit AggieAtheltics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter.
No. 27 Auburn def. No. 12 Texas A&M, 4-3
No. 1 – No. 34 Andreas Mies, AU def. No. 40 Jeremy Efferding, A&M 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
No. 2 – Junior Ore, A&M def. No. 106 Daniel Cochrane, AU 7-6 (5), 6-4
No. 3 – Dennis Lengsfeld, AU def. Harry Adams, A&M 6-4, 7-6 (3)
*No. 4 – No. 105 Lukas Ollert, AU def. No. 93 Shane Vinsant, A&M 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4
No. 5 – Behzad Minavi, A&M def. Lucas Lopasso, AU 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
No. 6 – Niall Angus, A&M def. Joseph van Dooren, AU 7-6 (7), 6-3
No. 1 – No. 5 Cochrane/Mies, AU def. No. 12 Ore/Withrow, A&M 8-4
No. 2 – Lengsfeld/Lopasso, AU def. No. 25 Adams/Vinsant, A&M 9-8 (4)
No. 3 – Efferding/Szabo, A&M def. Ollert/van Dooren, AU 8-4
Order of finish: Doubles 1, 3, 2 Singles 6, 3, 1, 5, 2, 4
*clinched the match
Texas A&M (13-11, 4-5 SEC); Auburn (13-7, 5-5 SEC)