COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 11th-ranked and No. 12 seed Texas A&M men’s tennis team advances to the NCAA Sweet 16 to face No. 5 seed Ohio State on Friday at the University of Illinois’ Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at the Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana, Ill. First serve is slated for 4 p.m. between the Aggies and Buckeyes.
The Aggies (19-12) are making their seventh appearance in the round of 16 and second in the past three years. The winner between A&M and OSU advances to the Elite Eight to face the winner between four-time defending national champion and No. 4 seed Southern California and No. 13 seed Baylor.
Live video and scoring of the matches will be available at http://www.fightingillini.com/ncaatennis2013/index.html
NCAA ROUND OF 16
(Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at the Atkins Tennis Center, Urbana, Ill.)
Friday, May 16
No. 3 Georgia (24-4) vs. No. 14 Oklahoma (21-6), 9 a.m.
No. 11 Pepperdine (26-5) vs. Memphis (16-7), 9 a.m.
No. 7 Tennessee (22-7) vs. No. 10 Mississippi State, 12 p.m.
No. 2 Virginia (26-0) vs. Cal, 12 p.m.
No. 5 Ohio State (33-2) vs. No. 12 Texas A&M (19-12), 4 p.m.
No. 4 USC (25-4) vs. No. 13 Baylor (22-5), 4 p.m.
No. 1 UCLA (26-1) vs. No. 16 Vanderbilt (18-10), 7 p.m.
No. 8 Kentucky (22-11) vs. No. 9 Duke (24-5), 7 p.m.
*Ranking indicates seeding
ALL-TIME SERIES HISTORY
This will mark the eighth overall meeting between Texas A&M and Ohio State and second this season. The Aggies hold a 4-3 edge in the all-time series record. Both schools have met every season since 2009 in a home-and-home series. Over the stretch, the Buckeyes have a 3-2 advantage, winning each of its home matches and taking the first meeting of that span in College Station.
Earlier this season, A&M won a thrilling 4-3 victory over then fourth-ranked OSU in College Station. Harry Adams and Shane Vinsant clinched the doubles point when Adams placed a winner around the scorers stand to claim the match at the No. 2 line, 8-7 (5).
In singles, Vinsant upset 30th-ranked Chris Diaz at the No. 4 position to give A&M an early 2-1 edge. Jackson Withrow claimed a victory over 13th-ranked Connor Smith at the No. 5 line to push the Aggies advantage to 3-1. The Buckeyes would rally back, however, and tie the match at three-all with victories at the Nos. 6 and 2 lines, respectively. With the pressure to win solely on the shoulders of Adams, the freshman didn’t disappoint as he won a nail-biting, three-set decision at the No. 3 line to clinch the victory for the Aggies.
HOW THEY GOT HERE:
In the first round, 11th-ranked Texas A&M cruised to a 4-0 victory over MAAC champion, Marist at the George P. Mitchell Center in College Station. The Aggies claimed the doubles point with victories on the No. 2 and 3 courts. In singles, A&M saw victories at the Nos. 1 (Ore), 3 (Vinsant) and 6 (Angus) lines to secure the victory.
A&M punched its ticket to the Sweet 16 in dramatic fashion over the 21st-ranked Texas Longhorns. The Maroon and White cruised at the No. 1 and 2 lines in doubles to claim the doubles point. A&M won convincingly at the No. 3 line (Adams), but the Aggies were unsure of where the final two points would come from. Trailing the Longhorns 3-2, the Aggies won on the Nos. 2 (Ore) and 5 (Withrow) courts to complete the comeback and win 4-3.
Fifth-ranked Ohio State didn’t have near as much trouble in its regional. The Buckeyes didn’t concede a set in their 4-0 rout of Cleveland State in the first round.
The Buckeyes had similar results in their second round matchup against 37th-ranked Washington. OSU again didn’t drop a set on its way to a 4-0 victory.
SCOUTING OHIO STATE
In singles, the Buckeyes feature five-ranked players in the ITA rankings. Blaz Rola, the No. 12 ranked player nationally, has primarily played the No. 1 line this season, posting an astounding 24-1 record overall, with a 16-1 mark from the top position. Peter Kobelt is the highest ranked individual for the Buckeyes with a No. 8 ranking. Kobelt has gone 18-3 on the season, with 11 wins and three losses coming at the No. 2 line. 71st-ranked Connor Smith typically has duties at the No. 3 line, going 26-3 overall and 9-0 from that position. Devin McCarthy has played the No. 4 line for the Buckeyes for the latter portion of the season. The No. 73 player has posted a 26-2 dual match record and a perfect 6-0 at No. 5. Constantin Christ rounds out the projected singles lineup for the Buckeyes with a 16-1 mark.
All three of the projected doubles teams for OSU are ranked. The 12th-ranked tandem of Kobelt and Smith boast a 23-2 record with 20 wins and two losses coming from the No. 1 doubles line. The 90th-ranked pair of McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen hold a 26-2 overall mark, including a record of 19-2 from the No. 2 line. Rounding out the projected squad for OSU is the duo of Rola and Kevin Metka with a perfect 21-0 mark. All their decisions have come from the No. 3 doubles line.
A&M HEAD COACH STEVE DENTON
A&M head coach Steve Denton has led the Aggies to the postseason in each of his seven seasons at the helm of the Maroon and White. In Texas A&M’s first season in the SEC, Denton led the Aggies to a Western Division championship while only holding two upperclassmen on the squad. Denton helped the Aggies to a winning-record despite facing 18 opponents in the ITA top-30 (10-8 against those foes). The Aggies started the season strong, winning their first seven matches which is the third-best start since 1978.
Known nationally and internationally throughout the tennis world, Denton won 20 professional doubles titles and was ranked as high as No. 11 in the world in singles and No. 2 in the world in doubles in 1982. A four-year collegiate standout at the University of Texas, he helped the Longhorns to an impressive 78-27 (.743) team record from 1976-79. Denton amassed an 85-22 singles record and a 72-18 doubles record, while also earning All-American honors in 1978. Enjoying nine successful years on the professional circuit, Denton reached the singles finals of the Australian Open twice in 1981 and
1982. During his career, he advanced to seven singles finals and defeated the likes of Boris Becker, John McEnroe and Stan Smith. Denton also represented the U.S. as a member of the Davis Cup Team in 1982 and 1983, playing alongside tennis greats in Arthur Ashe, McEnroe, Peter Fleming and Eliot Teltscher. Denton teamed with his former college teammate Kevin Curren and captured the U.S. Open doubles title in 1982. In all, he totaled winnings more than $1 million as a pro on the ATP Tour.
While at TAMUCC, Denton compiled a 64-48 overall record and garnered back-to-back Southland Conference Coach of the Year honors in 2004 and 2005. Not only did he guide the Islanders to three SLC championship titles, but also to their first NCAA Championship appearance in school history and a top 20 national ranking in 2005. During their NCAA run, the Islanders reached the second round before falling 4-2 to then second-ranked and eventual quarterfinalists Virginia.
IN THE RANKINGS
Texas A&M is No. 11 in the latest ITA team rankings, released May 2. The Aggies current ranking is tied for the highest ranking this season and the program’s highest ranking since the start of the 2012 campaign. Individually, sophomore Jeremy Efferding is the highest ranked player for A&M, coming in at No. 18 on May 2. Because of his stellar play, Efferding earned an at-large spot for the NCAA individual championships...Freshman Shane Vinsant climbed his way up to his second highest ranking of the season at No. 76. Vinsant is the only individual to hold a ranking through the entire season... Also making appearances in the ITA rankings are junior Junior Ore (No. 100) and freshman Harry Adams (No. 103)...In doubles, Jackson Withrow and Ore earned All-America honors this spring by garnering a 5-8 seed at the individual championships. The tandem is currently ranked eighth...Adams and Vinsant earned an alternate spot for the NCAA individual championships to go along with their No. 29 ranking.
WITHROW/ORE ALL-AMERICAN DUO WITH 5-8 SEED
Texas A&M doubles team of junior Junior Ore and sophomore Jackson Withrow has guaranteed themselves All-America honors from the ITA after being named to a 5-8 seed in the NCAA Doubles Championship 32-team field. In their first season of playing together, Ore and Withrow became A&M’s first All-American since 2011 and the 12th and 13th Aggies to earn the distinction.
A&M TO SEND FIVE TO NCAA INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Adams and Shane Vinsant were named as an alternate for the doubles championship.
Efferding is 22-10 overall in singles this year and posting a 16-8 record in dual matches. Currently ranked No. 18, the sophomore is 7-4 from the No. 1 line after moving to the top-position at the start of conference action. In addition, Efferding earned first team All-SEC honors after posting a 6-4 mark in conference.
Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow came in at No. 8 in the most recent ITA national rankings. The tandem earned All-American distinction after posting a 14-8 overall record with all contests coming in the spring. The pair went 14-7 from the top-doubles line and 6-4 in SEC action.
Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant also earned national distinction by being selected as alternates to the NCAA doubles championship. The freshmen pair began the spring season with a No. 6 ranking after advancing to the ITA Individual Indoor Championships in the fall. The duo led the team in doubles victories, going 26-13 overall and 15-9 in dual matches.
The NCAA singles and doubles competition will be conducted following the conclusion of the team championship (May 16-21). All matches will be the best of three sets. Regular scoring and a 12-point tiebreaker at six games all will be used for all matches.
Senior Niall Angus earned his 40th dual match victory of his career against Marist. In his freshman season, Angus went 5-7 seeing limited action. His sophomore season featured a breakout campaign which Angus went 12-1. Last season, Angus went 19-13 and this year, he’s posted a 3-2 mark after having shoulder surgery in the off season.
Freshman Shane Vinsant needs a victory to tie for the most wins in a freshman campaign since 2002. The best season for a freshman in school history came when Ante Matijevic posted an astounding 21-4 mark in his first season to wear the maroon and white.