Thursday night brought us a pair of close matches in the SEC with Texas A&M and Tennessee pulling out hard fought 4-3 wins. In College Station, Texas A&M fell behind after dropping the doubles point but the Aggies rallied with four opening sets in singles. Juan Carlos Aguilar tied the match at 1-1 with a 6-0, 6-1 rout at No. 1 but Georgia’s Jan Zielinski put the Bulldogs back in front with a 7-6, 6-3 win at No. 2. Texas A&M’s Valentin Vacherot evened the match at 2-2 after a 7-6, 6-3 win at No. 3 but Georgia was still leading on two of the remaining courts with the third about to split sets.
Texas A&M freshman Noah Schachter came back from a break down in the third set, while also fighting off multiple breaks himself, to win 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5). Schachter trailed Georgia junior Robert Loeb 3-1 in the third set but after holding and breaking for 3-3 he’d come back from 30/40 down to hold for 4-3. After a hold by Loeb, Schachter once again came back from 30/40 down to hold for 5-4. After a few more holds Loeb would go up 2-0 in the tiebreak but it’d be 3-3 at the changeover. Schachter went up 6-4 and after being denied on his first match point he’d close it out on the next one after the chair overruled Loeb’s out call on the far sideline.
Georgia freshman Phillip Henning evened the match at 3-3 with a 5-7, 7-6, 6-2 win at No. 4. Henning led the opening set 5-3 but dropped the final four games and in the second set he also led 5-3 but after dropping three straight he came back to take it in a tiebreak. Henning went up an early break in the third and broke at love to close it out.
Texas A&M’s other freshman Guido Marson was nearing the finish line at No. 6 after opening up a 5-1 lead in the third set against Georgia senior Walker Duncan. 35 minutes earlier it looked like Duncan was headed for a straight set win but a missed swinging forehand volley at 6-4, *4-2 (40/40) was a turning point that got Marson back in it. Marson came back to take the second set 7-5 and after leading 5-1 it looked like he was moments away from the clinch. However Duncan would reel off three straight games which included a break of Marson’s 5-2 service game on the 40/40 point. Duncan looked like he was going to get it back on serve after going up 30/40 but after coming to the net he laid off hitting a volley on a Marson backhand, since it looked like it might sail long, however the shot landed in which brought up the deciding point. Duncan would net a forehand on the deciding point to give Marson and Texas A&M the 4-3 win.
Texas A&M Men’s Tennis (@AggieMTEN) March 8, 2019
“For us to not win the doubles point and to win the matches we won tonight is really impressive,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “Georgia is a really good team like I told everybody. We had to play well tonight to win and our guys really came through. The two freshman on courts five and six played at a really high level. I am really happy for Guido [Marson] to clinch this match, it will give him a lot of confidence moving forward.”
“This was one of the finest moments in my life and I just tried to fight and close the match help my team win,” Texas A&M’s Marson said. “There was late tension and I think I did a good job in fighting and winning the last point for my team. I just said go for it, don’t worry about winning or losing, just play free and I got a bit lucky on the last point, but that’s tennis.”
#28 Texas A&M 4, #34 Georgia 3
3/7/2019 at College Station, TX (George P Mitchell Tennis Center)
1. Juan Carlos Aguilar (TAMU) def. #20 Emil Reinberg (UGA) 6-0, 6-1
2. #10 Jan Zielinski (UGA) def. #120 Hady Habib (TAMU) 7-6 (7-3), 6-3
3. #38 Valentin Vacherot (TAMU) def. Trent Bryde (UGA) 7-6 (7-4), 6-3
4. #95 Phillip Henning (UGA) def. #58 Barnaby Smith (TAMU) 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2
5. Noah Schachter (TAMU) def. Robert Loeb (UGA) 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5)
6. Guido Marson (TAMU) def. Walker Duncan (UGA) 4-6, 7-5, 6-4
1. Juan Carlos Aguilar/Barnaby Smith (TAMU) vs. #65 Robert Loeb/Jan Zielinski (UGA) 5-4, unfinished
2. Walker Duncan/Emil Reinberg (UGA) def. Valentin Vacherot/Austin Abbrat (TAMU) 6-4
3. Phillip Henning/Trent Bryde (UGA) def. Hady Habib/Alex Vedri (TAMU) 6-4
Georgia 5-5, 1-1; National ranking #34
Texas A&M 9-3, 3-0; National ranking #28
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (1,2,3,5,4,6)
The other match in the SEC in Baton Rouge also had a 4-3 score although it didn’t have the same drama that was witnessed in College Station. Tennessee fell behind LSU 1-0 after dropping the doubles point however the Vols would rally in singles with four opening sets. Five of the six matches would finish in straight sets with Tennessee winning at 2, 3, and 6 while LSU won at 4 and 5. The deciding match at No. 1 between UT senior Timo Stodder and LSU senior Shane Monroe was the only one to go three sets. Monroe broke Stodder to go up 1-0 but Stodder would take the next six and roll to a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 win.
No. 25 Tennessee wins 4-3 on the road against No. 24 LSU, as senior #59 @TimoStodder gets the clinch with a 6-2 4-6 6-1 victory at the #1 singles spot against #112 Shane Monroe! #GoVols ?? pic.twitter.com/Cpkq9M26nz
Tennessee Tennis (@Vol_Tennis) March 8, 2019
“We’re proud of Timo for being the guy to step up and clinch the victory tonight,” Tennessee assistant coach James McKie said. “The team as a whole is very close to realizing how good they can be, but it has to come from them. They have to believe it and I think they are close to seeing that for themselves.”
LSU Co-Head Coach Andi Brandi on the Match
I thought it was a very close match. What is interesting in this match is that there was really only one three-set match. The rest of the matches were straight wins or losses. Where we were disappointed in the outcome was really at No. 2 and No. 3. Rafael (Wagner) beat him last year there at Tennessee. Malik (Bhatnagar), who has been having a tremendous year so far, just did not show up today. You have to give credit to Tennessee. They came back from a point down in doubles and fought hard to win four of the singles.
#25 Tennessee 4, #24 LSU 3
Mar 07, 2019 at Baton Rouge, La. (LSU Tennis Complex)
1. #59 Timo Stodder (UT) def. #112 Shane Monroe (LSU) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1
2. #93 Adam Walton (UT) def. Rafael Wagner (LSU) 6-0, 6-2
3. Scott Jones (UT) def. Malik Bhatnagar (LSU) 6-3, 6-3
4. Boris Kozlov (LSU) def. Preston Touliatos (UT) 6-1, 6-2
5. Joey Thomas (LSU) def. Martim Prata (UT) 6-4, 6-2
6. Luca Wiedenmann (UT) def. Nick Watson (LSU) 6-4, 6-2
1. #36 Preston Touliatos/Timo Stodder (UT) def. #45 Rafael Wagner/Joey Thomas (LSU) 6-2
2. Shane Monroe/Daniel Moreno (LSU) def. Martim Prata/Andrew Rogers (UT) 6-4
3. Boris Kozlov/Nick Watson (LSU) def. Luca Wiedenmann/Adam Walton (UT) 6-2
Tennessee 10-2, 1-1; National ranking #25
LSU 12-3, 1-2; National ranking #24
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (2,6,4,3,5,1) Official: Richie Weaver
Other Men’s Results
- Baylor, ranked No. 5 by the ITA and No. 10 by the USTA, defeated #33 Arkansas for the first time in school history and did it comfortably with a 6-1 win in Waco. Baylor took the doubles point with wins at No. 2 and No. 3 and then after winning all six first sets they’d close out the matches at 2, 3, 4, and 5 in straights while winning at 1 in three sets with Arkansas winning at 6 in three sets. The Bears and Razorbacks hadn’t met since 1991 which was Arkansas’s last year in the Big 8 before moving to the SEC.
- #27 San Diego went on the road to Seattle and edged Washington 4-2. The Toreros dropped the doubles point but added straight set wins in singles at 1, 2, 4, and 6.
- #12/#21 Oregon won its ninth match in a row after coming back from 2-0 down at home to defeat Middle Tennessee State 4-2. Thomas Laurent won his 94th career singles match to become the program’s all-time singles wins leader. Oregon’s No. 12 ITA ranking is an all-time high.
- #4/#3 Stanford rolled over Santa Clara 6-1 in a match that was originally supposed to be played three weeks but got rained out.
- TCU won its Big 12 opener by routing No. 50 Baylor 6-1 in Waco. The Horned Frogs won 6-1 at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles and then quickly closed out the match with lopsided wins at 4 (6-1, 6-1), 5 (6-1, 6-2), and 6 (6-0, 6-3)
- #37 Kansas State blanked #40 Wichita State 7-0 in a match played indoors at a local three-court facility. The final three singles matches played 8-game pro sets since the team outcome had already been decided.
- Penn State defeated #48 VCU 4-3 in a match that was played in Lake Nona – Chelsea Sawyer clinched at No. 4 with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 win.
***All quotes are from the respective school’s recaps
If there are two rankings listed the first ranking is the ITA ranking and the second is the USTA rankings