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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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The Battalion May 4, 2024

Tennis team extends home streak

The No. 11 Texas A&M men’s tennis team extended its recent successful run at the A&M Tennis Center Saturday to 11 straight matches with a 6-1 win over the No. 15 University of Alabama Crimson Tide. The Aggies (15-5) finished off the Tide (13-5) in front of more than 500 faithful to complete a perfect 8-0 homestand, pushing the Aggies’ all-time record at the Tennis Center to an impressive 60-10.
“We enjoy playing at home,” said A&M Head Coach Tim Cass. “I was really excited to see the crowd tonight. They were enthusiastic, and our kids enjoy that environment and I felt that we fed off that.”
Initially, A&M’s streak looked to be in jeopardy. Alabama came out strong on the doubles courts in the first half of the set. On court one, the Alabama duo of seniors Maxim Belski and Geoff Hiscox built a strong 5-1 lead against A&M senior Ryan Newport and Big 12 Player of the Week sophomore Lester Cook, two Aggies who are carrying a win streak of their own after being reunited as a doubles team earlier in the season. Since that point on Newport and Cook have climbed to a national ranking of No. 18 and have won every match in which they competed.
“We did get off to a little bit of a slow start,” Newport said. “But they weren’t doing anything special and we felt that we could get back into it if we would make a few shots. We finally held Lester’s serve and got a couple breaks and got back in it.”
The turnaround at one came with the score 5-1, and the Aggies struggling on most fronts. After the Aggies held the serve by Cook to narrow the gap to 5-2, the large crowd was awakened and the momentum visibly swung on all three courts, with the Crimson Tide falling behind the home team for the first time in the match.
“I thought we settled down in the middle of the doubles matches across the board and started to make a little of a move,” Cass said. “The momentum swung our way.”
The Aggies captured all three doubles matches, with the first win coming at court three by sophomore Ante Matijevic and junior Khaled El Dorry. Newport and Cook clinched the point seconds later.
The loss at doubles put the Tide in a precarious situation, having to win four of the next six single matches. The Tide fell quickly to the Aggies as the momentum swing from the doubles point carried over into the singles portion of the dual match. At courts one and two, the Aggies jumped on Alabama, building quick leads, and putting the first sets away on both courts. At court three, the Tide’s highest ranked competitor No. 76 junior Chris Gosteck managed to build a lead on the No. 80 Ante Matijevic, but it was short lived as Matijevic came back and claimed the set 7-5. The only win on the night for Alabama came late when senior Michael Ray Pallares came from behind to catch Aggie freshman John Nallon in a hotly contested tie-breaking third set.
The win for the Aggies pushes their current win streak to nine games as they leave the friendly confines of the Tennis Center to travel to Rice for a match on Wednesday. The Crimson Tide have now lost five of their last seven, and their last three in a row.

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