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The Battalion

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Men’s tennis advances to SEC semifinal, women sent home to await NCAA tournament

The Texas A&M men’s and women’s tennis teams began play in the SEC tournament Friday, the men at home and the women at South Carolina University.
The No. 2 seeded A&M men’s team (20-4, 11-1 SEC) began their path to defending their title as the champions of the SEC tournament at home Friday when they defeated the No. 7 seeded LSU Tigers, 4-0.
The No. 3 seeded Texas A&M women’s team (15-5, 11-2 SEC) also faced LSU Friday in quarterfinal rounds, losing 4-3. 
Before the men’s match began, A&M was presented with the SEC regular season trophy, which they achieved by finishing conference play with an 11-1 record. Head Coach Steve Denton shared what he said to his players before the match.
“As I said to [the players] today before the match, this is a start of a new season and we are the defending champs of the SEC tournament and it’s here and we want to perform well.”
Doubles play proved to be much tighter than the last time the two teams met in Baton Rouge. The point came down to a 7-5 win on court three where freshmen pair AJ Catanzariti and Arthur Rinderknech clinched the first point of the day for the No. 6 Aggies.
Coach Steve Denton commented on the play of his doubles teams.
“I’m really happy with our guys,” said Denton. “We kind of were cruising there, up a break, and then I thought we played a loose game on our serve and of course it got complicated because we were down. We really needed that doubles point, I thought today, especially in an early morning match. You know, we haven’t played nine o’clock matches, they played yesterday and I felt like for us to get started, it was important for us to get that point.”
Once again for the Aggies, the bottom of the lineup showed up to play and captured first set wins on courts 3-6. Coach Denton spoke on the depth of his young team.
“I think really that the hallmark of this team is we’ve got about six guys that can play at about the same level,” said Denton. “These freshmen are no longer freshmen anymore, they’re playing with a lot of confidence and they’ve played a lot of good matches this year and they’re coming through for us. They’re playing at a pretty high level right now which I’m pleased about.”
First to capture a win on the singles courts was #93 AJ Catanzariti. The freshman raced through his match, defeating his court five opponent, 6-0, 6-2 in straight sets.
Next to close the deal for the Aggies was #55 Harrison Adams who retired his Tiger counterpart, 6-4, 6-1, also in straight sets. Adams spoke about what it means as a player to have an abundance of success all around you on the court.
“It helps a ton to have a complete team, I think all of the top-5, top-10 teams can win at any line in any match,” said Adams. “As a player you’re able to play more freely, go for shots, as a whole you’re just more confident. Confidence is a big part of the game.”
It was freshman, Jordi Arconada who clinched the match for A&M on court six when he defeated his opponent, 6-4, 6-3.
The Aggies will face the No. 3 seeded Mississippi State Bulldogs Saturday at noon. It will be No. 1 seeded Georgia and No. 4 seeded Ole Miss playing the other semifinal Saturday.
The Aggies’ women’s team started hot, earning the doubles point and taking an early 2-0 lead, however it would not hold as the women went on to fall to the No. 6 seeded LSU Tigers, 4-3.
The match was not absent of excitement. Down the stretch, the Aggies found themselves in a 3-3 tie with Anna Malamat left as the only player remaining in play against LSU’s Skylar Holloway on court six.
Malamat dropped the first set, 6-7 but fired back with a 6-1 victory in the second. The third set would go on to decide the match. A score of 6-6 forced a tiebreak situation in which LSU came away with the win, 7-4.
The No. 7 Aggies were eliminated from the SEC tournament, however they will now await the NCAA tournament which begins May 8th

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