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

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

The Battalion

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Aggie men’s tennis looks to build momentum on SEC road trip

Photo by Photo by Connor May

Sophomore Giulio Perego hits the ball at the Mitchell Outdoor Tennis Center on April 1, 2023.

The Texas A&M men’s tennis team will be looking to build another winning streak on its upcoming road trip. A&M has been jumping up the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings recently thanks to a recent five-match winning streak against both in-conference and out-of-conference teams.

The maroon and white, now ranked at No. 21, are hoping to finish the season strong. Its upcoming road trip is no cakewalk by any means. They will be facing two ranked SEC opponents: the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Ole Miss Rebels.

The Aggies have been on a roll as of late and are looking to build up their momentum again before the highly anticipated SEC and NCAA tournaments.

A&M was upset by the lower-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks in last year’s SEC tournament. It also fell to the Baylor Bears in just the second round of the NCAA tournament. This year, A&M is inspired and looking for revenge in both tournaments.

They will face the No. 64 Vanderbilt Commodores on Friday, April 7, at 4 p.m. The Aggies look to derail the Commodores when they come to the Currey Tennis Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Looking at the history of these two squads is quite lopsided. A&M has been playing Vanderbilt since joining the SEC in 2012. In that time A&M has beaten the team that wears black and gold all but once.

The Aggies should be able to control the play from the start as the Commodores lone ranked doubles team of senior Siim Troost and junior Jeremie Casabon sits at just No. 64. The Aggies’ best-ranked doubles team of seniors Noah Schachter and Trey Hilderbrand, however, sits at No. 21.

Looking at the singles competitor rankings, the needle also leans in favor of A&M. The ITA does not have a Vanderbilt player ranked in the top 125 players.

Meanwhile, A&M has four different players ranked in the top 125. Schachter at No. 41, junior Raphael Perot at No. 62, Hilderbrand at No. 110 and junior Pierce Rollins at No. 121. These four men will look to dominate singles play and get the win for A&M.

If the Aggies want to go far in the postseason, they will need to take care of a subpar Commodores squad that presents a record of just seven wins and 13 losses. Vanderbilt looks to upset the maroon and white and send it on the road with a loss.

The final stop of A&M’s road trip will be in Oxford, Mississippi, at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center. The No. 29 Ole Miss Rebels welcome the Aggies to town and will hope to improve their record of 14 wins and six losses. The match will kick off at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 9.

While the history of this squad’s matchup still leans in favor of the A&M, Ole Miss has beaten the maroon and white five times. The Aggies, however, do hold the advantage with nine wins over the Rebels. A&M will hope to make it an even 10 come Sunday.

The Rebels have two ranked doubles teams. Seniors Nikola Slavic and Lukas Engelhardt sit at No. 52 and senior Simon Junk and junior John Hallquist Lithen are No. 90, giving them the advantage over the Aggies. Doubles play between these two teams should be both entertaining and competitive.

A&M, however, holds the advantage in singles play. Ole Miss has just one player ranked by the ITA, Slavic at No. 60. If the Aggies get off to a slow start by losing the point in doubles play, then they will need their four ranked singles competitors to pull them back in.

If A&M can come away from this road trip undefeated, it would put them on a four-match win streak. This momentum could be enough to launch the Aggies forward for the rest of the season. If the Aggies hope to go far in the SEC and NCAA tournament this year, then dominating this road trip is just one piece of the puzzle.

Coach Steve Denton has had his men in excellent form as of late. He said he hopes to see the same performance level on display in two very important conference matches.

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Matthew Seaver
Matthew Seaver, Sports Reporter
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