GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The 11th-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team dropped its first-true road match on the season to 35th-ranked Florida, 4-3, at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville. The Aggies fall to 9-5 overall and 1-1 in conference action while the Gators snap a four-match losing streak, improving to 9-4 and 1-0 in league play.
“It’s always tough to lose a 4-3 match, especially when it comes down to a tiebreaker in the third set," A&M head coach Steve Denton said. "I’m very happy with the way we competed this afternoon. We just have to learn to slam the door once we get a lead. That comes with more experience. Having said that, I’m confident our guys will figure it out.”
The Aggies got off to a favorable start by claiming the doubles point for the 11th time this season. The 21st-ranked freshman duo of Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant claimed the first doubles match against Billy Federhofer and Gordon Watson, 8-6, at the No. 2 doubles line.
The pair of Jordan Szabo and Jeremy Efferding was unable to capitalize and clinch the doubles point when they fell to Mike Alford and Florent Diep, 8-4, at the No. 3 line.
To achieve the early edge, the burden then fell to the No. 1 line between the 17th-ranked tandem of Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow against Bob van Overbeek and Stephane Piro. After exchanging games with serves, the match was pushed to a tiebreaker set. Ore and Withrow were dominant in the extra frame, claiming the set, 7-3.
In singles, Ore quickly pushed the A&M advantage to two-love when he upset 104th-ranked Overbeek, 6-4, 6-1, from the No. 1 line. The win was huge for Ore as he rebounded from losing seven-consecutive matches to ranked opponents. Ore improves to 5-7 on the spring and claimed his second win from the No. 1 line.
The Gators wasted no time in biting back as Federhofer downed Behzad Minavi, 6-0, 6-4, at the No. 6 position to cut the Aggie lead in half, 2-1. The loss marks the first time Minavi has been bested on the spring, dropping his record to 5-1.
Adams, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, was unable to upset 62nd-ranked Diep, falling 6-4, 6-3 at the No. 2 singles line, forcing the match even at two. Adams falls to 8-3 on the season with a 2-3 mark from the No. 2 singles slot.
Efferding would reclaim the lead for the Aggies when he bounced back to defeat Piro, 0-6, 6-4, 6-3. The Boca Raton, Fla., native improves his record to 8-3 with a 4-0 mark from the No. 3 position.
With A&M leading 3-2, the Aggies only needed one more win to clinch the match. 115th-ranked Withrow was unable to secure the victory for the Aggies when he was upset by Watson, 7-5, 7-6 (6) at the No. 5 line. The sophomore from Omaha, Neb., falls to 5-4 on the spring, with a 5-2 record at the No. 5 position.
With the match tied at three, all eyes in the stadium fell on the competition at the No. 4 court between 90th ranked Vinsant and Alford. After Vinsant took the first set, 6-3, Alford responded nicely by claiming the second set, 6-1. The third set would prove to not be enough to decide the fate of the match, as the freshman from Keller, Texas, would force a tiebreaking set for the match. Vinsant was unable to get into a rhythm, however, as the Gators won the tiebreaker, 7-2, to clinch the match.
Texas A&M will look to rebound on Friday when it welcomes 25th-ranked Vanderbilt for its first home match in the Southeastern Conference. First serve is scheduled for 6 PM. To learn more about the Aggie men’s tennis team, visit AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter.
No. 35 Florida def. No. 11 Texas A&M, 4-3
No. 1 – Junior Ore, A&M def. No. 104 Bob van Overbeek, UF 6-4, 6-1
No. 2 – No. 62 Florent Diep, UF def. Harrison Adams, A&M 6-4, 6-3
No. 3 – Jeremy Efferding, A&M def. Stephane Piro, UF 0-6, 6-4, 6-3
No. 4 – Mike Alford, UF def. No. 90 Shane Vinsant, A&M 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (2)
No. 5 – Gordon Watson, UF def. No. 115 Jackson Withrow, A&M 7-5, 7-6 (6)
No. 6 – Billy Federhofer, UF def. Behzad Minavi, A&M 6-0, 6-4
No. 1 – No. 17 Ore/Withrow, A&M def. Overbeek/Piro, UF 9-8 (3)
No. 2 – No. 21 Adams/Vinsant, A&M def. Federhofer/Watson, UF 8-6
No. 3 – Alford/Diep, UF def. Efferding/Szabo, A&M 8-4
Order of finish: Doubles 2, 3, 1 Singles 1, 6, 2, 3, 5, 4*
*clinched the match
Texas A&M (9-5; 1-1 SEC); Florida (9-4; 1-0 SEC)