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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 men’s tennis sweeps Florida and Rice in double header

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Photo by Photo by Connor May

Senior Noah Schachter returns the ball at the Mitchell Outdoor Tennis Center on March 23, 2023.

Game 1 – Florida
Hoping to bounce back after seeing its 5-match win streak snapped against Tennessee, the Texas A&M men’s tennis team hosted the Florida Gators at the Mitchell Tennis Center on Saturday, April 1. The 19th ranked Gators came into Aggieland riding a 4-match win streak of their own, including a win over No. 18 Auburn their last time out.
The matchup between two of the top-ranked doubles teams in the nation lived up to the billing on Court 1 when the 29th ranked duo, junior Will Grant and graduate Axel Nefve of Florida, took on the No. 39 Aggie seniors, Trey Hilderbrand and Noah Schachter. Neither team could etch out a lead during the one-set shootout. Every time Hilderbrand and Schachter inched ahead, the Gators chomped right back thanks to impressive serving performances from both players. As the match entered a tiebreaker, Nefve and Grant’s gutsy serving and steely nerves secured them the win with a final score of 7-6(5). Gator sophomore Nate Bonetto and freshman Tanapatt Nirundorn sealed the doubles point for the visitors with their 6-2 dismantling of Juniors Pierce Rollins and Kenner Taylor.
Down 1-0 going into singles play, Coach Steve Denton’s Aggie team needed wins on four of the six courts to beat the 2021 national champions. An impressive 6-2, 6-3 win by Schachter on Court 1 leveled the match for the maroon and white. Junior Raphael Perto and senior Guido Marson then pushed the home team ahead thanks to back-to-back wins. The Gators, refusing to go home without a fight, struck back on Courts 5 and 6 in two nail-biting matches. With the SEC contest tied at 3-3, Court 3 would decide the winner.
The rubber-match on Court 3 saw Gator freshman Jonah Braswell square off with Aggie sophomore Giulio Peregot. Both underclassmen showed nerves reminiscent of a well-seasoned veteran in a match that is easily in contention for match of the year in the SEC. In the first set, neither player gave their opponent an inch until the very end when Braswell snuck ahead in the tiebreaker 7-6(4). The second set was another battle of wills, with both players holding serve all the way through. As the other matches concluded, both players knew what was at stake. A win for Peregot would seal the win for the Aggies, while a win for Braswell meant the Gators could continue to claw back. Even with all of this pressure, neither player wavered, and the match went to another tiebreaker. This time, it was Peregot who pulled through, tying the match with his 7-6(5) set win.
Entering the third set, the dust had settled on the other five courts. The contest was now tied, and the winner of this thrilling match would send their respective teams home victorious. Everyone inside of the Mitchell Tennis Center, players and fans alike, gathered around Court 3 to see how the match would unfold. Both players held on and, almost inevitably, the third set would also be decided by a tiebreaker. Just like in the second set, Giulio Peregot held on to secure the win with a final score of 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 7-6(2). Peregot fell to the ground in celebration, as the Aggies celebrated winning an absolute classic.
Game 2 – Rice
The Texas A&M men’s tennis team started out April on a very strong note. They finished the double header victorious against the Rice University Owls on Saturday, April 1. This team of Aggies has proved they are no fools defeating the Owls 4-2. A&M is certainly looking to make some noise in both the SEC Championship and the NCAA Championship.
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association had A&M at No. 25 and Rice at No. 66 going into today’s matchup. The Aggies were recently on a staggering five-match win streak. They grabbed wins against SEC rivals Mississippi State, Arkansas and Alabama. They also notched two conference wins against Abilene Christian and Tulsa.
Their inspiring performance of late has led to them slingshotting up the rankings. This team has proved that they have the ability to go far later this month in the SEC Championship. A&M defeated the Florida Gators earlier in the day, launching its momentum forward against the Owls.
Rice was on an eight-match winning streak coming into its match against A&M. However if the Owls wanted to win they would need to flip the script on their history against the Aggies. A&M has not lost to Rice since 2009, winning 9 matches in a row.
When it came to doubles play, Rice was the team to start fast. Their team of senior Wes Barnett and junior Trinity Grear defeated A&M’s No. 39 team of seniors Noah Schachter and Trey Hilderbrand by a score of 6-3.
Earning the doubles point for the Owls, the team of graduate Campbell Salmon and freshmen Santiago Navarro defeated the team of juniors Kenner Taylor and Pierce Rollins.
The third doubles match was between the Aggies’ team of junior Matthis Ross and sophomore Stefan Storch against senior Dylan Heap and freshmen Kabeer Kapasi was called off and ruled unfinished.
With the score at 1-0 in favor of Rice, the teams went into singles play and the Aggies grabbed the momentum. They earned the lead by winning two matches in row
Senior Guido Marson defeated Salmon in two sets both by scores of 6-1. Then to end the momentum shift, junior Raphael Perot who is ranked No. 65 defeated Navarro again in just two sets by scores of 6-3 and 6-4.
Rice wasted no time bouncing back though. Barnett took down No. 104 Rollins in two sets by scores of 6-4 and 6-3. This tied the score back up at 2-2 for the Owls, and revived their upset hopes.
The Owls however, were not able to fulfill their underdog dreams. The Aggies would not lose again on the day. Junior Rahul Dhokia defeated sophomore Eduardo Morais in two sets again by scores of 7-5 and 6-3. Then the final match to end the day saw Ross defeat Kapasi in three sets by scores of 6-4, 1-6 and 6-3.
This earned the Aggies the win by a score of 4-2. The final singles match between No. 38 Hilderbrand and Grear was ruled unfinished halfway through the third set.
The Aggies leave today’s double-header victorious twice and back on the winning side of things. Now with a record of 13 wins and eight losses they hope to push themselves back up the ITA rankings. Rice now with a record of 11 wins and eight losses hope to bounce back and finish its season strong.
A&M’s next match is an away match against their SEC rival Vanderbilt Commodores. The match will be in Nashville, Tennessee at the Currey Tennis Center on April 7, at 4 p.m.

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