A&M knocks off Nicholls State, SMU
Published: Monday, February 3, 2014
Updated: Monday, February 3, 2014 22:02
On a brisk Monday afternoon, the No. 9 Texas A&M men’s tennis team improved to 6-0 in spring play with victories over the SMU Mustangs, 4-0, and Nicholls State Colonels, 6-1, at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
The Aggies jumped out to an early advantage in both matches. Against SMU, the Aggies took the first doubles point, 6-2, behind the duo of Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant. Similarly, the No. 20 pair of Aggies, Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo, started the Nicholls State match by defeating the pair of Evan Karatzas and Kieran Cronin, 6-2.
Texas A&M men’s head coach Steve Denton said he was pleased with the overall effort of his players and considers the team’s consistency as an indicator of his squad’s impressive top-to-bottom play in singles and doubles matches.
“I was very pleased with the effort overall,” Denton said. “I felt like, considering the conditions, we came out and played with a lot of energy. We played well. We were able to win convincingly, but these were two pretty good teams.”
With the Aggie men ranked No. 9 nationally — and the Aggie women coming in at No. 7 — Texas A&M is one of only four schools that have both teams ranked in the nation’s top 10.
The men will next take the court Friday when they travel to Urbana, Ill., to battle Illinois, followed by Sunday’s match in Columbus, Ohio, for a top-10 showdown against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The Texas A&M women, having defeated Mississippi State and Depaul by identical 4-1 scores in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, will head to Chapel Hill, N.C., Tuesday to challenge the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels.
The Aggies will have their hands full as they take on a UNC squad that is 4-0 on its home court. The Tar Heels sport two of the top five players in the nation in freshman Jamie Loeb and Hayley Carter. Loeb and Carter come in at No. 2 and No. 5, respectively, in the ITA national singles rankings.
“This is definitely a big challenge for our group, but for the first time all year I would say our group in the past seven to 10 days has started to look a little more organized, cohesive and is playing better, so I’m very excited for us to get the opportunity to go at North Carolina and see how we perform,” said Howard Joffe, A&M women’s head coach.
The Aggies are led by senior Cristina Stancu, who enters the week No. 14 in singles play and No. 22 in doubles with Stefania Hristov, sophomore and fellow Romanian. Stancu is 2-0 in dual singles and 18-4 overall, including an 11-2 ledger against ranked opponents.