Auburn recap

Sophomore Pierce Rollins was ranked at No. 108 in the most recent update of the ITA rankings.

The Texas A&M men’s tennis team extended its win streak to three as the Aggies bested the Auburn Tigers in a 5-2 victory.

The Aggies, now No. 8 in the nation, move to 13-4 on the season. They currently sit 5-3 in conference play with a month left until the SEC Tournament. The Aggies continued their season-long dominance in doubles, still yet to lose a match where they won the doubles point. They capped it off with equally strong singles play as Auburn falls to 6-11. The Tigers have lost seven straight against the Aggies.

For the third match in a row, A&M got off to an early 1-0 lead. The day began as senior Valentin Vacherot and sophomore Pierce Rollins earned an impressive 6-3 victory over Auburn’s No. 41 ranked duo of Maclean and Murgett. Not too long after, grad student Bjorn Thomson and redshirt freshman Kenner Taylor snuck in a close 7-5 win to put the Aggies up a point.

Thomson and Taylor had not yet competed in a match this season as a duo, and yet pulled out a win. Thomson’s usual partner, senior Carlos Aguilar, did not compete in this match. Neither did senior Hady Habib, who had recently been promoted to No. 1 in the nation. The court 3 matchup involving A&M’s junior duo of Noah Schachter and Pranav Kumar went unfinished.

“It was good to see some other guys get the opportunity to contribute tonight,” A&M head coach Steve Denton told 12thman.com. “It was a big fight … but our guys were pretty tough down the stretch.”

A&M’s biggest strength all season has been capitalizing on early leads. The Aggies continued that trend against Auburn. Despite splitting even with the Tigers on the first sets across the six courts, A&M went 4-2 in its singles matches.

On court 5, Raphael Perot, the A&M freshman from Octeville-sur-Mer in France, continued his strong performance. He opened up singles play with a 6-2, 6-3 win. Perot is now 6-2 in singles matches in SEC play. The newly ranked Rollins, who had gone from unranked to No. 108, gave A&M some more breathing room with a narrow 7-6, 7-6 victory on court 3. This pushed the lead to a comfortable 3-0.

Soon after, junior Guido Marson lost 6-4, 6-4 on court 4 to bring the score to 3-1. Schachter, now No. 71 in the nation, came through for the Aggies. In a three-set bout, he won 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 on court 2, securing an A&M victory. Two more three-set matches finished up on courts 6 and 1, with the Aggies winning the latter. The match was already decided, and the final score rounded out to 5-2 in A&M’s favor.

The Aggies, who originally were scheduled to take on Alabama on Sunday, now have some extra time to prepare for their next matchup after the Crimson Tide were forced to postpone due to positive COVID-19 tests within the program. The Aggies can now look on to their next opponents. They may not be conference rivals, but it may still be the team’s biggest match of the year. The No. 8 Aggies will take on the No. 7 Texas Longhorns on Wednesday, March 31 at 6 p.m. in Austin. The Longhorns sit at 13-3 with an upcoming match against South Florida before hosting the A&M.

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