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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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No. 14 Aggies receive early exit from SEC Tournament

Freshman+Tiago+Pires+reaches+to+return+the+ball+during+Texas+A%26amp%3BM%E2%80%99s+match+against+Arkansas+on+Sunday%2C+April+7%2C+2024+at+Mitchell+Tennis+Center.+%28Lana+Cheatham%2FThe+Battalion%29
Photo by Lana Cheatham
Freshman Tiago Pires reaches to return the ball during Texas A&M’s match against Arkansas on Sunday, April 7, 2024 at Mitchell Tennis Center. (Lana Cheatham/The Battalion)

The No. 14 Texas A&M men’s tennis team fell to the No. 44 LSU Tigers 4-3 in a down-to-the-wire duel on Thursday, April 18. Facing off at the LSU Tennis Complex in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Aggies got upset and received an early exit ticket in the second round of the SEC Tournament. 

Entering as the No. 5 seed in the tournament, the Aggies received a first round bye, while the No. 13-seeded Tigers had to defeat the No. 12 seed Ole Miss Rebels 4-1 in a first round matchup for the right to face off against the Aggies. 

Entering the duel, A&M had not lost to LSU since 2013, and things looked good for the Fightin’ Farmers as doubles play began. The first match saw the Aggies’ team of freshman Lathan Skrobareck and junior JC Roddick defeat the LSU duo of senior Ben Koch and fifth-year senior Stefan Latinovic, 6-2.

Winning the coveted doubles point for the Aggies was the experienced No. 16 team of junior Giulio Perego and sophomore Togan Tokac, who beat the Tigers’ No. 59 team of junior Julien Penzlin and senior Chen Dong, 7-6, (7-5).

With a 1-0 lead, A&M looked to continue its 10-match winning streak against LSU, but the men in purple and gold had other plans. The Tigers went on to win the next two matches, as Penzlin took down Perego in two sets, 6-1, 6-4.

Securing the 2-1 lead for LSU was freshman Rudy Ceccon, who defeated Tokac in two sets, 6-3, 6-1. With the lead secured, things looked good for the Baton Rouge boys, but the Aggies went on to turn the tables, winning the next two matches.

Tying things up for A&M was No. 24 senior Raphael Perot, who defeated Latinovic in two sets, 6-4, 6-4. Then grabbing the lead for the Aggies was freshman Tiago Pires, who took down Dong in two hard fought sets, 6-4, 6-4.

The Tigers refused to sit back and let the Aggies build momentum, as  senior Welsh Hotard tied things up between the two squads after he defeated A&M junior Luke Casper in three sets, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

With things all tied up 3-3 and a chance to play in the third round of the SEC Tournament on the line, it all came down to a matchup between LSU’s freshman Alessio Vasquez and A&M’s No. 38 Roddick. Vasquez, the underclassmen, facing the highly ranked upperclassmen, lost the first set 6-4, but he won the next two sets, 7-5, 7-6 (10-8). 

This upset earned LSU the hard fought 4-3 victory and a ticket to the next round of the SEC Tournament against the No. 4 seed Auburn Tigers. Meanwhile, A&M awaits the NCAA Tournament, hoping that the team’s five-match losing streak to end the season does not hurt it too much. The regional assignment selection will take place on Monday, April 29 at 5 p.m.

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Matthew Seaver
Matthew Seaver, Sports Reporter
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