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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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A&M men’s tennis falls short in doubleheader

Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Junior Guido Marson was one of two Aggies to earn a win against the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes on Tuesday, March 15.

Texas A&M’s men’s tennis has seen a lot of success at this point in the season. The Aggies currently sport a record with twice as many wins as losses, 14-7. They are also undefeated in the competitive SEC, 3-0. But, the biggest blemish on their otherwise impressive record is the inability to win against the top competition in the nation.
On Tuesday, March 15, A&M hosted its fifth doubleheader of the season, facing off with system-affiliate Prairie View A&M and a high-powered attack in No. 2 Ohio State.
The first match began at noon when the Aggies faced off with the Panthers for just the fourth time in program history, and A&M achieved a sweep over Prairie View for the fourth time.
“We were pretty tough on them, especially down low,” A&M coach Steve Denton said. “Our team played solid and we need to continue giving these guys the opportunity to go out there and compete. We need to continue to see them on-court. Those opportunities are there for them, and if they seize the opportunity to go play … that’s what those matches are all about.”
With a big-time matchup later in the evening, A&M gave its strongest arms some rest, opting to let some of its less experienced athletes take to the courts and earn their stripes. The Aggies did not skip a beat, though, winning the doubles point for the seventh-straight match. They won six of their seven matches over that span.
In singles play, five of the six courts were won by Aggies in just two sets, the lone exception coming from sophomore Pierce Rollins who won on Court 1 with a tiebreaker set versus Prairie View senior Jorge Juarez Caballero.
Three different Aggies won by the same score of 6-1, 6-0, all coming consecutively at the beginning of singles play. One of those Aggies was sophomore Anish Sriniketh from Katy, who played in his second singles match of dual play all season, going 2-0 over such games. Both wins came against affiliated programs in Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Prairie View.
As the sun prepared to set on Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, the moment that the Aggies were waiting for had arrived. The clock struck 6 p.m., and the Aggies took on the second-ranked team in the nation: the Ohio State Buckeyes.
To this point in the season, the Aggies were 2-5 against teams ranked at match time, losing their last five in a row. Against the Buckeyes, the Aggies had a chance at redemption, but started immediately behind the 8-ball.
Ohio State had the No. 1-ranked duo in the nation, a team consisting of graduate-transfer Matej Vocel and junior Robert Cash. They took down the Aggies on Court 1 while junior Cannon Kingsley and sophomore JJ Tracy cleaned up on Court 2.
“Ohio State is a really good and very experienced team. We knew that going in, and I thought the doubles was a crucial point,” Denton said. “That doubles point really made the difference. Win that and the match is really close … Sometimes you have to play some teams like these to realize we are right there with teams at this level. We can play with these teams, and I think that happened a little bit tonight.”
The Aggies have struggled when starting their matches down 1-0, but the last time they fell early, they came back to win 4-3 against Arkansas on Friday, March 4. However, the magic did not strike twice in a row, as the Aggies carried their woes into the doubles competition.
The Buckeyes had four of the top singles players in the nation with Vocel ranking fifth, Kingsley ranking eighth, Tracy ranking 11th and senior James Trotter ranking 26th. The quartet all found their way into two-set victories, except Tracy who won in a third-set tiebreaker against the maroon and white’s freshman Giulio Perego.
The lone two courts that saw singles matches with unranked Buckeyes were won by Aggies in just two sets, giving A&M two points in a match that was otherwise filled with struggles. The two wins came at the hands of junior Guido Marson and freshman Luke Casper on Courts 3 and 6, respectively. In response, Denton had nothing but kind words to say about the two in the teams’ 5-2 loss.
“[Marson] has been playing pretty well, and he deserved the chance to play that match … I expected him to step up and play well, and he did,” Denton said. “[Casper] just continues to be a gamer. He is one of our rookies that does not have any fear on the court. He goes for his shots and he played a really solid match tonight. He played to his strengths against his opponent and was able to come out with a pretty significant win.”
With the Aggies’ success against ranked teams continuing to wane, A&M has less than a week to keep a short memory and put its recent past behind itself. The Aggies will head to Lexington, Ky., to face off with the Kentucky Wildcats, currently the 12th-ranked team in the nation.
After that, the Aggies will rematch with Prairie View A&M to kick off another home doubleheader that will feature an afternoon match with Tennessee.

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