COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 12-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team will host No. 40 Rice in one of two final tune-ups of the regular season on Monday, April 13 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. First serve between the Aggies and Owls is set to begin at 6 p.m. (CT).
The Aggies (13-6) enter the non-conference dual match with a recent 5-2 victory over Nebraska on April 10 which improved their record in Big 12 Conference play to 4-1. They are currently one-game behind league leader Baylor. The Owls (14-9) are coming off a 7-0 shutout of SMU on April 11 and will close out their regular-season slate versus A&M before competing in the Conference USA postseason tournament in Orlando, Fla.
Five singles players on both the A&M and Rice rosters are ranked among the top 50 players in the country including No. 19-ranked senior All-American Conor Pollock (San Antonio, Texas), No. 30-ranked sophomore Wil Spencer (Ponce de Leon, Fla.), No. 46-ranked Christoph Müller, No. 48-ranked Bruno Rosa and No. 51-ranked sophomore All-American Austin Krajicek (Brandon, Fla.).
“They are a very good team,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “Their top players are two of the best in the country. Conor (Pollock) beat Bruno Rosa in the final of the (ITA South Central) regional in the fall and Christoph Müller reached the semis. They also have some really good young players, particularly one we recruited, Isamu Tachibana, a Texas junior that we know very well and has had a very good spring season. Rice is a very dangerous team. They have beaten some big teams this season and are always competitive.”
The Aggies currently have four players with more than 10 dual match victories this season including team-leader Austin Krajicek with a 14-5 mark, Conor Pollock at 11-8, Wil Spencer at 10-6 and junior Marcus Lunt (San Antonio, Texas) at 10-8. Spencer is the winner of his last three against Texas Tech, Baylor and Nebraska at No. 3 singles, while sophomore newcomer Alexey Grigorov (Moscow, Russia) is on a two-match win streak playing primarily at No. 4.
“It will be another close match that comes down to who wins the doubles and who wins the close three-set matches in singles,” said Denton whose Aggies are 8-2 when winning the doubles point this season. “We will have another dog fight on our hands on Monday. Rice is a very difficult team to play against and they match up well against us. We’ll have to come out ready to play and hopefully, not be looking ahead to Thursday night (against Texas in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown).”
Live scoring and video from the Rice match will be available on www.AggieAthletics.com.
Where’s Wilson? Promotion…Fans don’t forget to get out early and be the first one to locate Wilson, a smiling tennis ball, who will be hiding at every home match this season at the Mitchell Tennis Center. One lucky winner will receive an exclusive reward and will be entered into the grand prize drawing that will be held this week Wednesday during the Texas A&M women’s tennis match against Baylor on April 15.
Dollar Day Ahead…The Aggies will close out the regular season versus 13th-ranked Texas in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown to be held on Thursday, April 16 at 6 p.m. (CT). Team captain Conor Pollock will be honored during Senior Night festivities held prior to the match against the rival Longhorns. A&M will also host Dollar Day at the Mitchell Tennis Center with $1 admission as well as $1 hot dogs and sodas available for purchase at the concession stand (while supplies last).
Catch The Coach Denton Radio Show On Mondays…Listen to the Steve Denton Radio Show live every Monday at 4:15 p.m. (CT) on Chip Howard’s SportsTalk broadcast live on KZNE 1150 AM The Zone in College Station. Denton joins Chip Howard for the only college tennis coach’s radio show in the nation. Each week, the duo will recap and preview matches for the nationally-ranked Aggies. The weekly radio show airs every Monday from February through the NCAA Championships and can also be heard worldwide on the Internet at: www.KZNE.com.