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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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Aggies convincingly take down No. 18 Bulldogs in SEC matchup

Photo by Caleb Powell

Junior Noah Schachter and sophomore Kenner Taylor celebrate after winning their doubles match against the University of Texas at the Mitchell Tennis Center on Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2022.

The Texas A&M men’s tennis team upset Mississippi State on Saturday, March 11. In a ranked Southeastern Conference matchup the Aggies would be victorious by a score of 4-2 and had an extremely strong showing at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre in Starkville, Mississippi.
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association had the Bulldogs ranked as the No. 18 team in the country, with a record of 13 wins and only two losses. They came into today’s matchup coming off a 4-3 win against the No. 15 Auburn Tigers. The Aggie’s last match was a loss to the No. 9 ranked Georgia Bulldogs by a score of 5-2. This gave them an overall record of six wins and seven losses. The Aggies hoped to bounce back and claim a strong win early in SEC play.However, the Bulldogs looked to deny them of their upset dreams.
A&M holds the advantage when looking at the history between these two teams. Coming into today’s match they held 11 wins over Mississippi State. This greatly contrasts with the Bulldogs only having five wins against the Aggies. In fact, A&M has not lost to Mississippi State since 2019, they hold a three-match win streak against the team from Starkville, Mississippi. The Aggies would look to extend this streak and once again defeat the Bulldogs.
Starting doubles play the Bulldogs team of graduate Ewen Lumsden and freshmen Petar Jovanovic would defeat the Aggies team of junior Raphael Perot and sophomore Giulio Perego by a score of 6-2. This meant that Mississippi State would only have to win one more doubles match in order to grab the doubles point and have an advantage going into singles play.
The Bulldogs would not be so lucky to grab the doubles point. The Aggies would rebound off the first doubles loss by sweeping the remaining doubles matches. The No. 78 ranked team of A&M seniors Noah Schachter and Trey Hilderbrand upset Mississippi State’s No. 26 ranked team of juniors Carles Hernandez and Nemanja Malesevic by a score of 6-2. Then to secure the point for the A&M, the team of juniors Kenner Taylor and Pierce Rollins took down the team of freshmen Michal Novansky and Benito Sanchez Martinez by a score of 6-3.
This earned the Aggies the doubles point and put them in the lead by a score of 1-0. A&M coach Steve Denton talked about how the Aggie’s performance in doubles launched their momentum forward in regard to the rest of the match.
“I’m very proud of how the guys competed, and it started in the doubles for us today,” Denton said. “We were able to win a couple of matches in straight sets that kept the momentum on our side.”
The Aggies would keep the momentum going into singles play. The No. 31 ranked Schachter hastily defeated the No. 125 ranked Malesevic in just two sets by scores of 6-4 and 6-3. This gave A&M a 2-0 score advantage. This put the Bulldogs on upset alert, they would need to pick things up if they wanted to defend their No. 18 ranking against the lower-ranked Aggies.
However, Mississippi State would swing the momentum in their favor after they would go and win two straight singles matches. The No. 89 ranked Hernandez defeated A&M’s unranked Perego. The sophomore from Milan, Italy fell in two sets by scores of 6-3 and 6-3. Then the Bulldog’s Sanchez Martinez would upset the No. 100 ranked Rollins in just two sets by scores of 6-4 and 6-3. This tied the score up at 2-2 and put the Aggie’s upset dreams in danger. They would need strong performances from the remaining singles matches if they hoped to still come away from today’s match with the win.
The remaining matches would end in the Aggie’s favor. The No. 66 ranked Perot took down Jovanovic in two sets by scores of 6-4 and 7-5. Then to earn the Aggies the win, Marson Defeated Lumsden in only two sets with scores of 6-3 and 7-5. This earned A&M the win on the day and made the score 4-2.
The last remaining match between junior Matthis Ross and Novansky would be unfinished. The score of their three sets sat at 6-2, 5-7 and 4-1 before the match was called off.
Denton spoke about successfully upsetting the SEC opponent.
“We really needed that one for our confidence as a team,” Denton said. “Mississippi State always fights very hard and they made us earn every point.”
The Aggies now hold a record of seven wins and seven losses, while the bulldogs drop one to now have a record of 13 wins and three losses. This win should hopefully shoot A&M up the ITA rankings.
The Aggies will return home for their next match against the Abilene Christian Wildcats on Tuesday, March 14.

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Matthew Seaver
Matthew Seaver, Sports Reporter
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