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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Men’s tennis dominates EKU in first round of NCAA Tournament

The No. 5 Texas A&M men’s tennis team swept past Eastern Kentucky Friday, capturing the 4-0 victory on its way to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Aggies finished off their first round opponent while not dropping a single set on their home court.
The match began with A&M (22-4) capturing its 22nd doubles point of the season behind wins on courts two and three. First off the court was the No. 56 ranked senior duo of Jordan Szabo and Jeremy Efferding, who retired their opponents with a score of 8-2. Clinching the point for the Aggies was the pair of AJ Catanzariti and Arthur Rinderknech on court three, 8-2.
Head coach Steve Denton spoke about the way his team came out after not having played a match in three weeks.
“I thought our guys played pretty sharp,” said Denton.  “I thought we did a good job of getting out in front in the doubles, which has been a hallmark of this team thus far, and that certainly helps us going into singles.”
Junior Harrison Adams also commented on what the extended break did for the team.
“Having three weeks off really helped us hit the gym and put some more size back on that’s going to be able to help us last through the whole tournament,” said Adams. The busy schedule of the team during the regular season didn’t allow for much time to focus on weight training, so the break was a perfect opportunity for the players to make up for lost time in the gym.
The dominance of the Aggies transferred smoothly to singles play where they did not drop a single set. Leading the way was Jeremy Efferding on court one who was the first to finish the first set, defeating his opponent, 6-0. All five other Aggies followed the senior’s lead and won their respective first sets.
The NCAA tournament brings along with it a minor tweak in the structure of the matches, and coach Denton commented on the changes.
“We’re going back to the old format now,” said Denton. “The matches are longer, the doubles are longer, regular scoring, so there are more fights out there and it’s more physical obviously and I think our guys responded well.”
Uncharacteristically of Efferding, he finished his match first, 6-0, 6-3. The senior rarely had the chance to finish his matches during the regular season due to the swift play of the guys and the bottom of the lineup.
Finishing quickly behind Efferding were Max Lunkin on court six and Harrison Adams on court three who defeated their opponents, (6-4, 6-2), (6-2, 6-4) respectively. Lunkin was a late addition to the lineup due to Junior Shane Vinsant scratching from singles play.
Adams, who clinched the match, talked about what it means to have the depth that the team enjoys.
“It takes a lot of pressure off of everyone else whenever you don’t have to worry about winning every match when you have five other guys that can do it,” said Adams.
The Aggies will face the No. 38 Oklahoma State Cowboys (17-9) Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Mitchell Tennis Center for what will be the final home match of the year for A&M.
Coach Denton shared what he will say to his team in preparation for the second round match up.
“Our guys are going to have to go out and take it from them because they certainly aren’t going to give it to us,” said Denton.

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