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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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A&M loses semifinal matchup against No. 1 Florida

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Photo by Joshua Sozio

Junior Noah Schachter and his doubles partner Pranav Kumar won their fourth consecutive doubles match.

Advancing all the way to the SEC Tournament semifinals, No. 8 Texas A&M men’s tennis found No. 1 Florida to be just a little too much as the Aggies lost a close 4-3 bout.
This week in Fayetteville, Ark., the SEC Tournament took place. The Aggies, a four-seed, boasted a first-round bye. After beating Arkansas, fifth-seeded Kentucky advanced to face the Aggies in round 2. In the teams’ previous matchup, the Aggies won by a score of 6-1.
A&M wound up falling behind early, as Kentucky ran off with the doubles point. The Aggies, to this point, had not yet come back from a 1-0 deficit this season. The team would need to win at least four of the six singles courts in order to come back and win.
Freshman Raphael Perot got things kicking, winning 6-1, 6-4 on court 6. On court 2, No. 5 senior Hady Habib won 7-6, 6-4 over Kentucky’s No. 15 Gabriel Diallo, his second win over him this year. Sophomore No. 123 Pierce Rollins followed suit with a three-set win over No. 103 Joshua Lapadat. Finally, No. 98 junior Noah Schachter clinched the match on court 4 over No. 96 Cesar Bourgois. With the score reading 4-1, it was a win for the Aggies.
Scoring four unanswered, the Aggies secured their berth in the semifinals. They would be set to face off against the Florida Gators, the No. 1 team in the nation. In their previous matchup, Florida was victorious by a score of 5-2.
The semifinals began with doubles play, where A&M got an early lead. Florida’s No. 15 duo of Sam Riffice and Ben Shelton were victorious on court 3, but the Aggies answered back. The newly ranked duo of Rollins and senior Valentin Vacherot, No. 70, won 6-3 on court 2 to even things up. The doubles point was clinched by A&M’s No. 6 duo of senior Carlos Aguilar and graduate student Bjorn Thomson after a 6-4 victory over Florida’s No. 25 Johannes Ingildsen and Will Grant.
Up 1-0, the Aggies looked to be in prime position to pull off the upset. Both teams had five ranked singles players. Florida’s No. 104 Josh Goodger took down A&M’s Perot on court 6, and then in a big-time matchup on court 1 A&M’s No. 4 Vacherot beat Florida’s No. 3 Duarte Vale. The score was 2-1 in the Aggies’ favor.
Florida would go on a run claiming courts 2 and 5, but then No. 42 Aguilar won on court 3 to tie it up at 3-3. With court 4 deciding the teams’ fates, Florida’s No. 56 Blaise Bicknell narrowly beat A&M’s No. 98 Schachter. A three-set, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 match in Florida’s favor pushed them into the SEC Championship Match.
“This was a really great college tennis match with many momentum swings throughout,” coach Steve Denton told 12thman.com. “I thought we really had our chances today, but give Florida a lot of credit for fighting back in the third set of a couple matches”
The one-seed Florida advanced to face the two-seed Tennessee Volunteers in the championship match. After a narrow loss, the Aggies look on to a possible NCAA Tournament appearance in May.

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