Texas A&M beats No. 5 Kentucky, caps day with win vs. Prairie View A&M
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- No. 14 Texas A&M upset its second top-five opponent of the season in beating No. 5 Kentucky 4-0 before coasting to a 7-0 victory against Prairie View A&M on Sunday afternoon at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. The Maroon and White improved to 12-5 on the season and 3-1 in Southeastern Conference play. Kentucky fell to 14-4 and 2-1 in league play. Prairie View fell to 5-7 on the season.
"I thought this weekend was really big for us to get back on track in the SEC standings," Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. "I thought our guys handled the conditions better than they did [Sunday]. I know Kentucky hasn't played a lot of outdoor tennis. Our guys were able to make the wind their friend and that really gave us an advantage. We were pretty well-prepared mentally to play both these matches. Playing at home is always a big boost for our guys."
The Aggies got the day started right by claiming the doubles point against the Wildcats for the fourth consecutive match. Both teams were able to hold serve through the first several games, not allowing their opponent to get a break ahead. The point would come down to whichever team broke first.
Kentucky's 19th-ranked duo of Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai upset the 15th-ranked duo of Jackson Withrow and Junior Ore 8-5 at the No. 1 line. Both teams held serve through the first nine games before the Wildcats broke the Aggies to win the final four games on their way to the victory.
With Texas A&M needing to win on the remaining two courts, the 21st-ranked tandem of Harry Adams and Shane Vinsant secured the first doubles win by defeating Alejandro Gomez and Ryuji Hirooka 8-4 at the No. 2 position. The freshmen were able to gain a 2-0 advantage and never looked back as they rolled to the win.
With the early 1-0 lead on the line, leading 7-6, the sophomore pair of Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo held serve, downing Anthony Rossi and Grant Roberts 8-6 at the No. 3 slot to secure the doubles point for the Aggies.
"Obviously the doubles was key again [Sunday]," Denton said. "Luckily, we were able to squeak the win out on the No. 3 line. That was able to propel us again in singles. It seems like when we win the doubles point, it really helps us in the momentum department and once again it did [Sunday]."
Much like against Vanderbilt, the Aggies used the momentum from the doubles point to get the early advantage in singles, taking four of six first sets.
No. 90 Vinsant cruised to a straight-set victory, 6-1, 6-1, against Charles Minc at the No. 4 line to stake the Aggies to a 2-0 lead. Vinsant built a four-game lead in the first set before dropping a game, and a five-game lead in the second set before surrendering a game. Vinsant improved to 11-4 on the season and 3-1 in conference play.
Efferding then rolled through 18th-ranked Jomby 6-3, 6-3 to drive Texas A&M's lead to 3-0. Efferding built three-game leads in both setsand improve to 10-3 on the season and 4-0 in the SEC.
"I thought Jeremy did a very good job against a very dangerous player," Denton said. "Securing the win at the No. 2 line really helped us out [Sunday]."
Szabo wasted no time in putting the match away, defeating Juan Pablo Murra 6-3, 6-4 at the No. 5 line. Szabo improved to 7-5 on the season and 1-1 in SEC play.
"This was a big win for us [Sunday]," Szabo said. "We had a bad loss last weekend and it feels good to bounce back ... I think most people rose to the challenge [Sunday]. This was a great team win."
In its second match, the Aggies won on all three doubles courts, 8-2, 8-3, 8-0, to give Texas A&M a 1-0 lead. In singles, the Maroon and White were dominant, winning in straight sets on all courts, dropping only 17 games overall.
"We got a good opportunity to get Niall [Angus] some playing time and let us evaluate him," Denton said of the second match. "I've always said I like the doubleheaders as they stretch you mentally and physically. [Sunday] we were able to let the guys go out there and work on some things which really benefits our team."