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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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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Men’s tennis sweeps past Mississippi State, looks to defend SEC title against Georgia

The No. 6 Texas A&M men’s tennis team defeated No. 20 Mississippi State (19-7) Saturday to earn its place in Sunday’s SEC championship match. Sunday will mark the second straight year that the Aggies have made it to the championship round of the conference tournament.
The day began with a competitive start on the doubles courts. It was the pair of Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant who closed out the first win for the Aggies (20-4), defeating their opponents, 6-2. The win was the veteran duo’s fifth win over a top ten ranked doubles team this year.
Courts two and three took quite longer to reach a conclusion, as neither team was willing to budge or give up a break point. Finally, it was the freshman team of AJ Catanzariti and Arthur Rinderknech who clinched the point for A&M by winning the set tiebreak, 7-6 (7-4).
Head coach Steve Denton commented on the play of his doubles teams.
“We came out, obviously number one doubles really played well and then we had a battle on our hands in both the other matches so we were fortunate to get out of that and get that point to put us in the lead,” Denton said.
On the singles courts Arthur Rinderknech played lights out, closing out his opponent in straight sets, 6-0, 3-0 (ret.). Unfortunately, Arthur’s opponent, Mate Cutura, rolled his ankle in the first set and was forced to eventually retire early as he was unable to complete the match. Coach Denton was very impressed with the play of his freshman on court three.
“I thought Arthur played as well as he’s played the whole season and I thought he hit the ball extremely well and was really aggressive when he needed to,” Denton said.
Next to gain a point for the Aggies was Arthur’s doubles partner, AJ Catanzariti. After a hard fought first set in which Catanzariti was forced to a tiebreak, the freshman came back strong in the following set, defeating his opponent, 6-1.
Once A&M had taken a 3-0 lead on the Bulldogs, three matches entered a third set, including the match on court six featuring freshman, Jordi Arconada. Jordi began his match strongly, recording a 6-3 victory in the first set. However, in the following set he lost momentum and allowed his opponent to break his serve, which in turn lost him the set. It would come down to the final set to decide whether or not the freshman could clinch another match for the Aggies, this time to send them to a championship match.
After overcoming the anguish of dropping his second set, he refused to let his emotions get the best of him and focused in to close out the match with a 6-0 victory. Coach Denton said that he likes the fact that Jordi gets fired up from time to time during his matches.
“Jordi’s an Argentinian gaucho and he’s got a lot of fire, I like that about him – and it matters to him,” Denton said.
When the day was done, the Aggies had punched their ticket to compete for yet another SEC tournament championship and it was due greatly to the efforts of the A&M freshmen.
The Aggies will be facing the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs (21-3), the same Bulldogs who handed the Aggies their lone conference loss and who share the regular season title with A&M. Although A&M fell to Georgia, 1-4 back in early March, coach Denton insists that it is a new season and nothing is set in stone.
“There has to be a sense of urgency and I really like what I’m seeing thus far,” Denton said. “We’re the defending champions and they’ve got to take it away from us.”
The Aggies will face off against the Bulldogs Sunday at noon to decide who will become the champion of the SEC. 

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