COLLEGE STATION -- Playing its fourth match in six days, the No. 46-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team dropped a close match to No. 13-ranked LSU, 4-3, Saturday afternoon at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
The Aggies (10-5) and Tigers (10-2) battled each other until the very end with the No. 6 singles line becoming the deciding factor of the match. Senior Brett Joelson (Beaverton, Ore.) lost the first-set tiebreaker 7-6 (5) to LSU’s James Cluskey, but evened the playing field with a 6-4 victory in the second set. Cluskey would eventually claim a 6-2 victory in the third set.
Earlier in the match, A&M collected singles victories at the No. 1, 2 and 5 positions in the lineup to take a 3-2 lead. Junior All-American Jerry Makowski (Bradenton, Fla.) won a three-setter against No. 21-ranked Ken Skupski to notch his third victory over a ranked opponent this season, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. He previously defeated ranked foes at the No. 1 line in dual matches versus Michigan State and Wichita State.
"I was very pleased with how hard Jerry fought through his match to win against LSU’s Ken Skupski,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “He played a very solid match from start to finish today. When Jerry steps up, it makes us a lot better.”
Additional singles victories for the Aggies came courtesy of sophomore Conor Pollock (San Antonio, Texas) at the No. 2 position and junior Matt Bain (Georgetown, Texas) at the No. 5 position. Both won in straight sets over their LSU opponents. Pollock defeated Colt Gaston, 6-1, 6-4, while Bain beat Jan Zelezny, 6-1, 7-5.
In doubles competition, the Aggies pulled off near upsets at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. Senior John Nallon (Garland, Texas) and teammate Joelson lost a close tiebreaker to fifth-ranked Skupski and Cluskey at the top doubles spot with a 9-8 (5) result in favor of the Tigers. Pollock and Bain combined at the No. 2 position, but fell to ninth-ranked Danny Bryan and Gaston, 9-8 (3).
Junior Mike Beatty (Cincinnati, Ohio) and senior Bryan Wooten (Houston, Texas) picked up A&M’s lone win in doubles with an 8-4 victory at No. 3. They have compiled a team-best 10-1 doubles record this season.
“We had three ways to win today similar to the Duke match (which resulted in a 4-3 loss for the Aggies on Monday),” Denton said. “We had a shot, but made a couple of wrong decisions on crucial shots during the match. We played very solid doubles and solid singles. The final score shows that we are right there against the top level teams. Now, we just need to find a way to get these close matches. Similar to a basketball game, we need three to four guys to score for us on a regular basis. Everyone brings something different to the lineup and it is about finding the right combination for success and everyone playing well at the same time.”
Texas A&M (10-5) plays host to No. 26-ranked Tulsa (12-4) on Wednesday, March 21 at 6 p.m. at the George P. Mitchell Center.
(13) LSU 4, (46) TEXAS A&M 3
March 17, 2007
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
at College Station, Texas
No. 1 Jerry Makowski (Texas A&M) def. (21) Ken Skupski (LSU), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
No. 2 Conor Pollock (Texas A&M) def. Colt Gaston (LSU), 6-1, 6-4.
No. 3 (37) Danny Bryan (LSU) def. Luka Ocvirk (Texas A&M), 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
No. 4 (86) Kevin Dessauer (LSU) def. John Nallon (Texas A&M), 6-3, 6-0.
No. 5 Matt Bain (Texas A&M) def. Jan Zelezny (LSU), 6-1, 7-5.
No. 6 James Cluskey (LSU) def. Brett Joelson (Texas A&M), 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-2.
No. 1 (5) Cluskey-Skupski (LSU) def. Nallon-Joelson (Texas A&M), 9-8 (5).
No. 2 (9) Bryan-Gaston (LSU) def. Pollock-Bain (Texas A&M), 9-8 (3).
No. 3 Mike Beatty-Bryan Wooten (Texas A&M) def. Dessauer-Zelezny (LSU), 8-4.
ORDER OF FINISH
Doubles: 3, 1, 2
Singles: 4, 2, 5, 1, 3, 6*