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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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No. 11 A&M travels for rematch with Rice

When the No. 11 Texas A&M men’s tennis team meets No. 30 Rice University today in Montgomery, Texas, it will likely remember last year’s meeting. When the two Texas schools last met, the Owls left with a 4-3 upset victory over the Aggies in College Station.
A&M Head Coach Tim Cass said he was impressed by the Rice team he saw a year ago and that this year’s team should be just as good.
“They beat us last year at our home courts, and they are one of the few teams to be able to do that,” he said.
The Aggies have seen continued success at home this season on their way to building a 15-5 overall record. Most recently, A&M knocked off the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, 6-1, at the Aggie Tennis Center.
A&M has seen effective play from its veteran leaders early in its 2003 campaign. Senior All-American Ryan Newport, who is ranked No. 21 nationally, has built a 13-2 record in singles play this season. Junior Khaled El Dorry has also performed well as of late.
The Aggies also benefited from the play of some young faces, including sophomores Lester Cook and Ante Matijevic. Cook has won eight straight matches, while Matijevic has compiled nine straight victories.
The Owls are anchored by the nation’s top doubles tandem in juniors Richard and William Barker. In their most recent outing against the Northwestern University Wildcats, the twin brothers extended their unbeaten streak to 24 consecutive matches.
Rice has seen improved play from its youth as well. On Monday, freshman Robert Searle became the third Owls’ player to be named Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week this season.
“Robert’s game is still developing,” said Rice Head Coach Ron Smarr. “We look forward to seeing him reach his full potential.”
Despite receiving accolades from the WAC, Cass said the Owls (14-2) have not been rewarded in the national polls.
“It’s a mystery to me why they are ranked where they are with three players in the top 50 (nationally) and the number one doubles team,” he said. “They are basically the same team as last year, and they added a number one player.”
Today’s match is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Bentwater Country Club. Directions to the site are available at AggieAthletics.com.

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