COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Coming off a 2-0 opening week of play, the Texas A&M men’s tennis team looks to continue its winning ways against No. 37 Washington in a Big 12 versus Pac-10 showdown on Sunday, Feb. 3 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. First serve between the Aggies and Huskies is set for 1 p.m.
A&M (2-0) recently moved up three spots to No. 22 in the latest ITA/FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings with convincing victories over Clemson (6-1) on Jan. 25 and Boise State (4-3) on Jan. 27. The Aggies lost the doubles point on both occasions, but strong singles play from top-to-bottom carried the team to victory. A&M has won 24 of its 25 sets and is 12-0 in singles this season.
“We are very excited about our start this season as we beat two quality opponents in Clemson and Boise State,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “Our match with Boise State was particularly encouraging by the way we fought from behind to beat a very fired up team. Those kind of wins bring much-needed encouragement and confidence to our team.”
Leading the way for the Aggies is No. 23-ranked Conor Pollock (San Antonio, Texas) who has compiled a 10-4 overall record this season complimented by an undefeated 2-0 mark at the No. 1 line for the Aggies in dual match play. Senior All-American Jerry Makowski (Bradenton, Fla.) holds down the No. 2 position in the lineup and is 1-1 on the season with a victory over No. 61-ranked Rok Bizjak of Clemson.
Rookies Wil Spencer (Ponce de Leon, Fla.) and Austin Krajicek (Brandon, Fla.) have shown no signs of freshmen jitters with straight-set performances in their collegiate debuts at the No. 3 and No. 5 lines respectively. Krajicek won his second-set tiebreaker in the last match standing to clinch A&M’s victory over Boise State. Meanwhile, No. 90-ranked Chris Chirico (Philadelphia, Pa.) and senior Matt Bain (Georgetown, Texas) have provided extra depth to the lineup at No. 4 and No. 6.
Last season, the Huskies finished 16-7 overall and lost in the NCAA First Round to Wisconsin. They are led by 14-year head coach Matt Anger who is a former top 30 ATP Tour player who Coach Denton says is, “a great teacher, recruiter and coach who always has his teams prepared.” UW is 2-0 on the season with victories over regional rivals Gonzaga (7-0) and Portland (5-2).
“The Pac-10 has been the perennial powerhouse tennis conference for decades and Washington is always in the upper tier,” Denton said. “Despite returning only one starter from last year’s team, I look for the Huskies to be much better than their preseason ranking may indicate.”
A&M leads Washington in the all-time series, 1-0. Both teams last met in 1981. The Huskies will also take on fourth-ranked Baylor in back-to-back dual matches through the Lone Star State.
What They Are Saying About The Aggies …The Tennis Recruiting Network recently released its winter rankings of the top college tennis recruiting classes and Texas A&M received eight votes for 33rd best in the nation. Stanford was selected as having the top recruiting class in the nation, but A&M would have been considered right with the Cardinal as top prospects Wil Spencer and Austin Krajicek (No. 2 and No. 7 in the Class of 2008) enrolled in school in January and were not considered in the rankings.
“With all due respect to Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia, one school that would have challenged Stanford for the top spot is Texas A&M. We list their recruiting class for 2008 as Austin Klores, but the Aggies also received commitments from top 10 recruits in Wil Spencer and Austin Krajicek this past fall. However, Spencer and Krajicek are already enrolled in school. They donned the Maroon and White in College Station last Friday night with both players winning straight-set singles matches as A&M opened its season with a 6-1 victory over visiting Clemson.” – The Tennis Recruiting Network
Where’s Wilson? Promotion...Wilson is the newest teammate to the Texas A&M men’s and women’s tennis teams. Wilson, a smiling tennis ball, will be hiding at every home match this season at the Mitchell Tennis Center. One lucky fan who finds him will receive a pair of Crocs compliments of Texas A&M University and will be entered into a grand prize contest that will be held during the women’s Lone Star Showdown match versus rival Texas on April 16. Fans are encouraged to come out to the matches early to increase their chances of being the first person to find Wilson.