SOUTH BEND, IN -- The No. 13-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team fell short of No. 25 Notre Dame, 4-3, on the road Friday night at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
The Aggies (3-3) started off indoor play on a high note as the All-American doubles combination of senior Conor Pollock (San Antonio, Texas) and sophomore Austin Krajicek (Brandon, Fla.), ranked a career-best No. 8 nationally, won their seventh-straight match with an 8-5 result over No. 13-ranked Brett Helgeson and Tyler Davis at No. 1.
Sophomore Wil Spencer (Ponce de Leon, Fla.) and junior Marcus Lunt (San Antonio, Texas) helped A&M claim the doubles point with an 8-6 victory over Niall Fitzgerald and Matt Johnson at No. 3. It wouldn’t be the last contributions of the night by the duo against the Fighting Irish (7-6).
Lunt and Spencer quickly put away their opponents with straight-set victories at No. 5 and No. 3 singles respectively to give the Aggies a comfortable 3-0 lead. Lunt defeated Niall Fitzgerald, 6-3, 6-1, while No. 35-ranked Spencer gave up only three games to No. 122-ranked Daniel Stahl, 6-1, 6-2.
“We won the doubles point and felt good about ourselves,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “Wil and Marcus played solid straight-set matches to put us up, 3-0. It seemed like everything would go our way. We lost the first set, but battled back in the third set in all of the remaining four matches. We just couldn’t get out in front and couldn’t find that fourth point. Give credit to Notre Dame. They fought hard and did not give up tonight.”
Pollock, ranked No. 14th nationally, dropped a close three-setter to No. 18-ranked Brett Helgeson, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, at No. 1, while Krajicek, ranked No. 69 nationally, won his second-set tiebreaker in the last match standing, but couldn’t overcome a 6-3 decision in the third set to Stephen Havens at the No. 2 line.
“This was a disappointing loss,” Denton said. “We knew it was going to be a close match, but to be on the brink of winning and then losing four three-set matches, it hurts. This will likely be similar to the battle of the Alamo for us. We may be remembering the Notre Dame match throughout the season as we use this loss as a motivational tool to win close matches down the road. We will learn from it and move on. We look forward to playing another good match on Sunday at Louisville. It is going to be another close match for us and we will have to be ready.”
First serve between A&M and No. 33 Louisville (10-1) is scheduled for Sunday, March 1 at 10 a.m. (CT) at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center in Louisville, Ky.
(25) NOTRE DAME 4, (13) TEXAS A&M 3
February 27, 2009
Eck Tennis Pavilion
at South Bend, Ind.
No. 1 (18) Brett Helgeson (Notre Dame) def. (14) Conor Pollock (Texas A&M), 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.
No. 2 Stephen Havens (Notre Dame) def. (69) Austin Krajicek (Texas A&M), 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3.
No. 3 (35) Wil Spencer (Texas A&M) def. (122) Daniel Stahl (Notre Dame), 6-1, 6-2.
No. 4 Casey Watt (Notre Dame) def. Alexey Grigorov (Texas A&M), 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
No. 5 Marcus Lunt (Texas A&M) def. Niall Fitzgerald (Notre Dame), 6-3, 6-1.
No. 6 David Anderson (Notre Dame) def. Colin Hoover (Texas A&M), 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.
No. 1 (8) Krajicek-Pollock (Texas A&M) def. (13) Helgeson-Tyler Davis, 8-5.
No. 2 Havens-Watt (Notre Dame) def. Klores-Grigorov (Texas A&M), 8-2.
No. 3 Lunt-Spencer (Texas A&M) def. Fitzgerald-Matt Johnson (Notre Dame), 8-6.
ORDER OF FINISH
Doubles: 2, 3, 1
Singles: 5, 3, 4, 1, 6, 2*