COLLEGE STATION, Texas – A glimpse into one of the nation’s most storied rivalries will unfold as the 22nd-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team takes on archrival Texas in a non-conference dual match scheduled for Friday, Feb. 8 at The Downtown Club at the Met in Houston. The Aggies and Longhorns will battle for the Texas Cup beginning at 6 p.m.
After a four-year hiatus, the non-conference series was renewed by second-year Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton, a former All-American for the Longhorns from 1976-79, and Texas head coach Michael Center. The Texas Cup was previously contested in Houston from 2001-03 with UT winning all three early season meetings between the two schools.
“We are very excited to renew the series this weekend,” Denton said. “It’s such a unique rivalry and a great opportunity for both of our programs to get in two solid matches against each other. It’s good for college tennis, the state of Texas and our fan bases.”
The Aggies are off to a strong 3-0 start to the season and will look to rewrite a new chapter in the brief history of the Texas Cup. They begin a tough five-match road stretch which includes the seventh-ranked Longhorns along with No. 25 Tulsa on Feb. 10, No. 17 LSU on Feb. 23, No. 13 Duke on Feb. 29 and No. 14 Florida State on March 2. The neutral match with UT (5-0) will count toward each team’s regular season record, but will not count toward Big 12 Conference standings or earn points toward the State Farm Lone Star Showdown standings.
“We have already been battled tested this year,” Denton said. “Our morale is high and our recent success is a testament to how far our players have come in such a short period of time. We are starting our indoor phase of our schedule and we hope our players will adapt with equal effectiveness. It will be a challenge to play in hostile environments and faster conditions on the road in our upcoming stretch.”
A&M recently defeated Pac-10 power Washington (5-2) on Feb. 3 at the George P. Mitchell Center behind aggressive doubles and singles play throughout the lineup. The Aggies have two players ranked nationally in the ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings including No. 23 Conor Pollock (San Antonio, Texas) and No. 90 Chris Chirico (Philadelphia, Pa.). Pollock is a returning All-Big 12 selection, while Chirico is a sophomore transfer from Saint Joseph’s who was named Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Year in 2007. The Aggies and Longhorns also boast three of the nation’s top freshmen combined in Texas A&M’s Wil Spencer (Ponce de Leon, Fla.) and Austin Krajicek (Brandon, Fla.) and Texas’ Kellen Damico.
Admission is $10 for adults and $3 for students with all proceeds benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the Houston Youth Tennis Association. UT holds a 35-10 advantage in the all-time series. Both teams will meet later this season for the State Farm Lone Star Showdown on April 19 in Austin, Texas.
Watch and Listen Live…Live statistics from the Texas Cup match will be available via www.AggieAthletics.com and a live radio broadcast can be accessed at: www.radiotennis.com.
Two-Match Weekend Ahead…A&M will make a quick turnaround with its second dual match scheduled in three days against Tulsa (4-2) on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. in Tulsa, Okla. Last year, the Aggies improved to 13-1 all-time versus Tulsa with a 5-2 victory over the Golden Hurricane at the Mitchell Tennis Center on March 21, 2007.