COLLEGE STATION – The 13th-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team improved to 2-0 in SEC play with its 4-1 victory over 33rd-ranked South Carolina on Saturday evening at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. The Aggies move to 11-4 on the season while the Gamecocks fall to 7-5.
“It’s great starting off 2-0 in league play,” A&M head coach Steve Denton said following the match. “We played a very physical match last night and having to play on consecutive nights because of the weather was tough. I thought our guys competed really well. They were tired but they came out here and played very well tonight.”
The Aggies captured the doubles points behind victories from two ranked duos on doubles court one and three. The nation’s top-ranked duo of Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow made quick work of South Carolina’s 34th ranked tandem of Chip Cox and Kyle Koch on the first court. Shortly afterwards the 37th ranked pair of Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo clinched the pivotal doubles point over Andrew Adams and Andrew Schafer.
“The matches on courts two and three were really close,” Denton said on the doubles point. “Junior and Jackson are really playing well right now. They’re playing with a lot of confidence.”
Ore, A&M’s lone senior, pushed the Maroon and Whites lead to 2-1 after defeating Koch, 7-6 (3), 6-2 on court four. The Maryland native rallied back from a 5-3 deficit in the first set to force a tiebreaker where he built a 5-1 lead en-route to the victory.
Seconds after Ore finished, Shane Vinsant posted a victory in straight sets at the No. 2 line over 112th-ranked Andrew Adams to push the Aggies ahead, 3-1. The 26th-ranked sophomore built insurmountable leads in both the first and second sets on his way to the win.
Harrison Adams, the Aggies highest-ranked individual at No. 11 in the ITA rankings, clinched the match with a 7-6 (4), 6-2 victory on court one over 55th-ranked Tsvetan Mihov. Both players held serve for the entirety of the first set before Adams broke Mihov in the tiebreaker. The sophomore cruised in the second set, jumping ahead 2-0 before relinquishing a game.
“The key to the match was the three tiebreakers in the first sets,” Denton said on the singles performance. “We played the tiebreakers very well both last night and tonight, but we were able to keep the momentum on our side. Had we lost any of those, it would’ve given South Carolina hope. We didn’t want an extended match like last night. Our guys played those points smartly and took care of business.”
The Aggies will embark on an SEC road trip next weekend taking on No. 25 Kentucky Friday evening and then moving on to face No. 14 Vanderbilt Sunday afternoon. Stay tuned to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter for coverage of Texas A&M men’s tennis.
No. 13 Texas A&M def. No. 33 South Carolina, 4-1
Texas A&M (11-4, 2-0); South Carolina (7-5, 0-1)
*No. 1 – No. 11 Harrison Adams, A&M def. No. 55 Tsvetan Mihov, USC 7-6 (3), 6-2
No. 2 – No. 26 Shane Vinsant, A&M def. No. 112 Andrew Adams, USC 6-3, 6-3
No. 3 – No. 38 Jeremy Efferding, A&M vs. Thiago Pinheiro, USC 7-6 (5), 1-1 (unfinished)
No. 4 – Junior Ore, A&M def. Kyle Koch, USC 7-6 (3), 6-2
No. 5 – Jordan Szabo, A&M vs. Chip Cox, USC 5-7, 2-3 (unfinished)
No. 6 – Andrew Schaefer, USC def. Max Lunkin, A&M 6-1,6-4
Doubles (Texas A&M wins the point)
No. 1 – No. 1 Ore/Withrow (TAMU) def. No. 34 Cox/Koch (USC), 8-2
No. 2 – Adams/Vinsant (TAMU) vs. Mihov/Pinheiro (USC), 7-6 (unfinished)
No. 3 – No. 37 Efferding/Szabo (TAMU) def. Adams/Schafer (USC), 8-4
Order of finish: Doubles: 1,3 Singles: 6, 4, 2, 1
*clinched the match