COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M men’s tennis team will square off against arch rival Texas in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown on Saturday, Apr. 14 with first serve set for 6 p.m. at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center in Austin.
This is actually the third regular-season meeting in the spring of 2012 with both teams winning one match. The Aggies defeated the Horns Feb. 10 in the Texas Cup competition held in Houston by a 4-3 margin and then faced each other on Feb. 18 in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the ITA National Indoor Team Championships and Texas won, 4-1.
“It is always special when we play Texas,” Aggie head coach and former Texas All-American tennis standout Steve Denton said. “I expect the rubber match to be hotly contested, just as the previous two meetings this year have been. This has a bit of a different feel as both teams are coming in after a couple of losses. One thing I do know, the competition will be fierce. We have struggled on the road to say the least, but if would be great to build something positive starting Saturday night in Austin.”
Denton, along with associate head coach Bob McKinley, has put together something special in Aggieland with the tennis program reaching great heights. The team put together a 47-match home winning streak, the longest home winning streak of any A&M sport, which was snapped earlier this season against top-ranked USC. In his sixth season at A&M, Denton is 111-57 and has led A&M to a Top 25 finish four straight years and the past two seasons the Aggies were ranked No. 10 in the final poll. Denton was an All-American tennis player at Texas and went on to win a U.S. Open doubles championship as a professional.
“This certainly has additional significance to the match with us leaving for the SEC and Texas deciding not to play us any more in the foreseeable future,” Denton explained. “Hopefully, we will renew the rivalry very soon. This rivalry belongs to the state of Texas, the high school athletes, coaches and the fans of both of these great institutions.”
The Aggies are 12-11 and 1-2 in Big 12 play and ranked No. 27, while the Horns are 15-7 and 1-2 in Big 12 action and ranked No. 17 currently.
Leading the way for Texas A&M are three seniors, Alexis Klegou, from Dunkerque, France, who is the highest ranked Aggie player at No. 31 in singles and the other Aggie in the singles rankings at No. 115 is John Lewis, from Birmingham, Alabama. Colin Hoover, from Victoria, Texas, is paired with Lewis in doubles and the tandem is ranked No. 73. The top Aggie doubles duo is ranked No. 41 with freshman Jackson Withrow, from Omaha, Nebraska, and sophomore Junior Ore, from Gaithersburg, Maryland.
The head of the Lewis family is Walter, who played quarterback at the University of Alabama. His household will be split Saturday as the oldest son, John, will be in maroon and white, while younger son, Jacoby, is a freshman in orange and white. In the two previous team matches, the brothers did not face each other.
The match will be televised by the Longhorn Network with Mark Brown calling play-by-play and Jon Wiegand providing color.
The Aggies will return home for the final home match in the regular season against Baylor on Wednesday, Apr. 18 with first serve at 6 p.m. at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.