NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 11 Texas A&M men’s tennis team defeated No. 15 Florida 4-2 to win the 2014 SEC Men’s Tennis Championship at the Currey Tennis Center in Nashville, Tenn. hosted by Vanderbilt. The Aggies improved to 24-6 on the season, while Florida fell to 15-9 on the year.
“I was really proud of how our guys played today,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “We played well in the doubles, that's something we've been able to do this whole weekend, and then our guys competed really hard there in the singles, didn't give up any free points. We didn't win the regular season, we were disappointed. We had a chance to do that, had it in our own hands. They came in here determined this weekend, we had a second chance. They came here determined to win this SEC Tournament, and they did an unbelievable job.”
For the 26th time this season the Aggies started a dual match on the right side of the ledger. The maroon and white doubles teams captured the doubles point with wins on doubles court two and three. The sophomore tandem of Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant claimed the first win over Maxx Lipman and Elliot Orkin. Clinching the match was the junior duo of Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo over Mike Alford and Diego Hidalgo.
As the play switched to singles play the momentum swung in the Gator’s favor as they claimed first set victories on four of six courts. Junior Jackson Withrow doubles the A&M lead to 2-0 with a straight-set victory over No. 92 Elliot Orkin on court five. Junior Ore and Vinsant both came back to win the second set on their courts forcing third sets.
The Gators got on the scoreboard with No. 70 Florent Diep’s win over No. 14 Harrison Adams on court one. Moments later Florida evened the score as Maxx Lipman defeated No. 57 Jeremy Efferding on court three.
As the match turned to the final three courts the Aggies led on all three. After dropping the first set Junior Ore put pressure on Diego Hidalgo winning 10 straight games. The Aggies’ third point came from No. 23 Shane Vinsant over No. 99 Gordon Watson on court two.
Junior Jordan Szabo clinched the A&M win on court six in straight sets over Mike Alford. The Australia native, went 3-0 at the SEC tournament clinching both the championship match and against South Carolina.
"This is kind of a test for the NCAA tournament and physically, we held up pretty well,” Denton said. “Mentally, it's a strain to play games three days in a row. It's been a long season thus far and I know they're tired but they kind of hung in there. They were on some fumes today, but they did a great job finishing for us."
The 2014 NCAA Men’s Tennis Selection Show will be on April 29 at 4 p.m. (CT) and will be broadcast on NCAA.com. The top-16 seeded teams will receive the right to host a regional and the First and Second Rounds at their home site. Entering this week’s SEC Tournament, Texas A&M was No. 11 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.
Stay tuned to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter for information regarding Texas A&M men’s tennis.
No. 11 Texas A&M def. No. 15 Florida
Texas A&M (24-6, 10-2); Florida (15-9, 8-4)
No 1 – No. 70 Florent Diep (UF) def. No. 14 Harrison Adams (TAMU) 6-3, 6-4
No 2 – No. 23 Shane Vinsant (TAMU) def. No. 99 Gordon Watson (UF) 1-6, 6-3, 6-0
No 3 – Maxx Lipman (UF) def. No. 57 Jeremy Efferding (TAMU) 6-3, 7-6(5)
No 4 – Junior Ore (TAMU) vs. Diego Hidalgo (UF) 4-6, 6-0, 5-3 unfinished
No 5 – Jackson Withrow (TAMU) def. No. 92 Elliot Orkin (UF) 6-4, 7-5
*No 6 – Jordan Szabo (TAMU) def. Mike Alford (UF) 7-6(3) 6-3
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (5,1,3,2,6)
*clinched the match