COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 33-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team hosts No. 67 Nebraska in its regular season finale on Friday, April 20 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
First serve between the Aggies (14-9, 1-4) and Cornhuskers (8-9, 1-3) is set for 6 p.m. A&M has not lost a match to Nebraska in 12 all-time meetings between the two schools since 1990. In the Big 12 Conference era, the Aggies have won 10-straight in the series. The Huskers have not competed since a 6-1 win over Nebraska-Kearney on April 5 and will be well-rested for competition.
“Our three seniors will be playing in their final home match and we want to showcase them in front of a packed home crowd at the Mitchell Center,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “They have done their part in providing veteran leadership to our young players this season and ensuring that Aggie Tennis will continue to be successful in the future. As a team, we are getting our guys geared up for Friday’s match as well as for the Big 12 Championship next week in Kansas City. We are focusing in on the individual needs of each player to have them playing at their best. Nebraska has struggled in the league over the years, but they have several good wins this season and will be ready to challenge us.”
The Aggies boast an 11-3 record at their home venue including three close losses to opponents ranked in the top 15 or higher (Duke, LSU and Texas). Junior All-American Jerry Makowski (Bradenton, Fla.) and sophomore Conor Pollock (San Antonio, Texas) are ranked No. 58 and No. 82 respectively in the latest ITA/FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings. Pollock has recorded a team-leading 15-6 singles record in dual match play, while his current national ranking is a career best. Makowski has won matches at No. 1 including two against top Big 12 foes in Baylor’s Michal Kokta on April 3 and Texas Tech’s Bojan Szumanski on March 30.
Prior to the match, seniors Brett Joelson (Beaverton, Ore.), John Nallon (Garland, Texas) and Bryan Wooten (Houston, Texas) will be honored in a Senior Day tribute. The trio has been a part of three NCAA Team Championship appearances including back-to-back Sweet 16 trips in 2004 and 2005. Joelson currently ranks 14th all-time in career doubles victories (57-36) and tied for 22nd all-time in career singles victories (53-28). He is a second generation Aggie as his father, Brian, and mother, Teresa, both played in the early 80’s for the A&M men’s and women’s tennis programs.
Meanwhile, Nallon currently holds a 12-3 record in dual match play in singles and has tabulated 43 career singles victories to date. Wooten and freshman Luka Ocvirk (Ljubljana, Slovenia) are in contention for a Big 12 title by position at No. 3 doubles. They have compiled an undefeated 4-0 mark in league play and would become the fourth A&M duo to be crowned No. 3 doubles champions. Wooten owns a team-leading 16-6 doubles record in dual matches for a total of 45 career doubles victories to date.
“They (seniors) have been instrumental in elevating our tennis program to a high level over the last four years,” Denton said. “All have contributed to the team’s success in the past and the present. They are going to be greatly missed because of the lasting contributions they have made to our program. This was a group of guys who grew up playing junior tennis in the state of Texas, stayed home and had a great career here at Texas A&M. We wish them the very best and know they will do well in their chosen professions after tennis. They have been great to be around and have helped us be successful this year.”
Match Promotions…Fans who have been registering throughout the season with a guess for the tennis ball can, the winner of the free television giveaway will be announced during the break between doubles and singles action at Friday’s match. Join the Aggies for Dollar Day as candy, popcorn and drinks will be available for $1 while supplies last at the concession stand.
Big 12 Championships Ahead…The Aggies will have a quick turnaround as they prepare for the upcoming 2007 Big 12 Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships to be held on April 26-29 in Kansas City, Mo. A&M is in a four-way tie for fourth and a strong finish will put them in a position for a No. 4-7 seed in next week’s tournament field.