COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Sophomore Jeremy Efferding, the reigning SEC Player of the Week, upset the nation's top-ranked player, but that wasn't enough to propel the Aggies to a victory over No. 1 Virginia as they fell to the Cavaliers, 6-1, on Wednesday evening at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. Texas A&M falls to 12-6 while the Cavaliers remain undefeated at 9-0.
"Virginia is a championship team. There's no doubt about that," Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. "We knew defeating them was going to require our best effort. Had we been able to secure the doubles point, it would've put them under some pressure and gotten their heart-rate up a little. There were a couple of spots that if things had went our way maybe we could've snuck out of here with a win. Give Virginia all the credit. They're a great team. As I had said, this is a great gauge for us as where we need to be and what we need to work on. We'll come out of this as a better team. I wish we could play this team ten more times before the NCAA tournament because we definitely get better because of it.
For only the third time this season, the Aggies failed to capture the doubles point, putting them in an early 1-0 hole. The No. 46 tandem of Alex Domijan and Mitchell Frank upset the 13th-ranked pair of Harry Adams and Shane Vinsant, 8-3, at the No. 2 line. After battling back from losing a break early, the No. 2 ranked duo of Jarmere Jenkins and Mac Styslinger bested the 15th-ranked pair of Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow, 9-7, from the No. 1 line to claim the point.
"I felt like we needed to win the doubles point tonight," Denton said. "I was somewhat disappointed with our doubles. We didn't play as well as I believe we can. I still think we're as good, if not better than they are in the doubles department."
Virginia wasted no time in capitalizing on the early momentum. Justin Shane defeated Niall Angus, 6-3, 6-1, at the No. 6 position to boost the Cavaliers lead to 2-0. 22nd-ranked Ryan Shane bested No. 118 Adams, 6-4, 6-3, at the No. 3 line to push Virginia ahead, 3-0. With the match on the line, the Cavaliers wasted no time in securing the match as fifth-ranked Jenkins downed Ore at the No. 1 position to clinch the win. The Cavaliers would add insult to injury when they increased their lead to 5-0 behind the racket of 81st-ranked Frank when he defeated No. 77 Vinsant, 6-2, 6-1, at the No. 4 line.
52nd-ranked Efferding was the lone bright-spot for the Aggies. The Boca Raton, Fla., native upset the nation's top-ranked player in Alex Domijan 6-3, 7-6 (4). The reigning SEC Player of the Week became the first player in Texas A&M history to defeat the top-ranked player in the ITA rankings.
"It's a great win for him," Denton said on Efferding's performance. "He's worked so hard to get better and it all came together for him tonight. He got on top and was able to withstand a late rally from Domijan. We knew the rally was coming because he's a great player. Jeremy played well in the tiebreaker. I think the key for him was he served well and he stayed aggressive during the match."
Sophomore Jordan Szabo closed out the night by dropping his match, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 6-4, against 12th-ranked Styslinger.
Texas A&M looks to rebound on Friday when it welcomes No. 68 LSU to the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center for a 6 p.m. match against the Tigers. To learn more about the men's tennis team, visit AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter.
No. 1 Virginia def. No. 11 Texas A&M, 6-1
*No. 1 - No. 5 Jarmere Jenkins, UVA def. Junior Ore, A&M 6-3, 6-2
No. 2 - No. 52 Jeremy Efferding, A&M def. No. 1 Alex Domijan, UVA 6-3, 7-6 (4)
No. 3 - No. 22 Ryan Shane, UVA def. Harry Adams, A&M 6-4, 6-3
No. 4 - No. 81 Mitchell Frank, UVA def. No. 77 Shane Vinsant, A&M 6-2, 6-1
No. 5 - No. 12 Mac Styslinger, UVA def. Jordan Szabo, A&M 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 6-4
No. 6 - Justin Shane, UVA def. Niall Angus, A&M 6-3, 6-1
No. 1 - No. 2 Jenkins/Styslinger, UVA def. No. 15 Ore/Withrow, A&M 9-7
No. 2 - No. 46 Domijan/Frank, UVA def. No. 13 Adams/Vinsant, A&M 8-3
No. 3 - Efferding/Szabo, A&M vs. No. 27 J. Shane/ J. Uriguen, UVA 6-7 (unfinished)
Order of finish: Doubles 2, 1 Singles 6, 3, 1*, 4, 2, 5
*clinched the match
Texas A&M (12-6); Virginia (9-0)