Men's tennis begin Big 12 title defense on Friday against Texas
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07
The No. 34 Texas A&M men’s tennis squad will defend their Big 12 title by hosting their final conference tournament, before leaving to the SEC, starting on Friday in the quarterfinals against long time rival No. 18 Texas at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
This will be the fourth time the Aggies (12-13, 1-4 Big 12) and the Longhorns (16-8, 2-3 Big 12) battle it out in the tennis court this season. Although the Aggies won the first meeting back in February for the Houston Cup, they’ve lost the last two meetings including a 4-3 gut-wrenching loss in Austin.
After finishing the regular season below .500 in a 4-3 loss against Baylor last Wednesday, the first time that’s happened since the 1997 season under former head coach Tim Cass where they finished 9-14, head coach Steve Denton said there is a certain level of frustration on the team when it comes down to getting the final point in crucial games.
“We couldn’t just hold on there and win the big points,” Denton said. “This is what these last couple of matches has happened to us: we’ve just had the inability to capitalize when it matters the most is what’s keeping this team from having a lot of good wins right now. If we win a couple of these 4-3 matches, we would still be a top 10 team in the country.”
The maroon and white, seeded 5th in the tournament, will have to overcome their latest struggles on the court in order to have a chance to face No. 1 seeded Oklahoma on Saturday in the semifinals. The Aggies suffered a 5-2 loss to the Sooners back in April 1 in College Station.
Denton said that his players are battle tested and shouldn’t feel any anxiety at this point, other than playing hard and trying to win matches.
“The bottom line is that these guys have to realize how close we are and have to keep working because the season starts over by putting this loss behind us,” Denton said. “The sun is going to come back up tomorrow and we’re going to go back at it and work hard, hopefully catch a few breaks and win these close matches.”
Earlier this week, senior Colin Hoover was crowned the Big 12 Conference court three singles champion. He posted a 3-1 record in Big 12 play in the three spot during this season.
The other game that is going to take place on Friday will be No. 3 seed Baylor taking on the No. 6 seed Oklahoma State – which the Aggies have defeated both teams during the season.
Denton said if the team were able to win close matches in the future, it would ignite the team.
“This is a team that can go deep, not just the Big 12 but in the NCAA tournament [in May],” Denton said.First serve for the Baylor and Oklahoma State game is set to take place at 9:00 a.m. First serve for the Texas A&M and Texas game is set to take place at noon.