COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 11th-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team welcomes top-ranked and undefeated Virginia to the friendly confines of the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center for a Wednesday evening match. First serve is slated for 6 p.m. on the stadium courts. The match is part of a twin bill, as the Aggie women’s tennis team will be facing the Virginia women’s team at 6 p.m. on the grandstand courts. One ticket is good for admission to both matches.
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“Virginia is the best team in the country right now,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “They are confident and skilled at every position. If we are going to beat them, we have to believe we can win. I know our guys are very excited at the opportunity to play Virginia. As competitors, they want to test themselves against the best. This is will be a great gauge of where we are at the moment and where we need to be at before the season ends.”
Texas A&M (12-5, 3-1 SEC) enters the contest riding a three-match winning streak in which the Maroon and White knocked off two top-20 opponents in No. 19 Vanderbilt and No. 5 Kentucky. Virgina marks the seventh top-10 opponent for the Aggies, who have notched wins against No. 4 Ohio State, No. 5 Kentucky and No. 10 Stanford. Texas A&M was not as lucky against No. 2 USC, No. 10 Mississippi State and No. 8 Oklahoma.
In singles, the Aggies are led by 77th-ranked freshman Shane Vinsant with a 12-4 record, including a 3-1 mark in SEC play. Sophomore Jeremy Efferding, ranked No. 52, enters the contest having knocked off two top-50 opponents this past weekend. The Boca Raton native boasts an 11-3 dual match record and an unblemished, 4-0, mark in conference play. Freshman Harry Adams also has reached double-figure wins with a 10-3 mark. The two-time SEC Freshman of the Week is ranked No. 118 in singles and improved to 7-0 at the No. 3 line this past weekend. Sophomore Jordan Szabo (8-5) clinched both matches on Sunday, improving to 1-1 in league play. Sophomore Behzad Minavi (7-1) and junior Junior Ore round out the projected singles lineup for Texas A&M.
Texas A&M has had an enormous amount of success in doubles thus far through the season, winning the doubles point in five-consecutive matches and having lost the point only three times. When the Aggies can earn the early 1-0 advantage, they typically use that momentum to carry them through the match. Texas A&M is 12-2 when it captures the point from pairs play. The 13th-ranked freshmen tandem of Adams and Vinsant leads the team in doubles wins with a 11-2 mark, including a 4-0 mark in conference play. The 15th-ranked duo of Jackson Withrow and Ore ranks second in doubles wins with a 10-3 mark. The sophomore pair of Efferding and Szabo rounds out the projected doubles lineup for the Maroon and White with a 9-5 record.
Virginia (8-0) enters the contest having claimed the ITA National Indoor Championship already this season. The Cavaliers are coming off their first outdoor win of the season, a 6-1 victory against Baylor. Virginia and Texas A&M have both played difficult schedules thus far. The Aggies and Cavaliers have played three common-opponents in Ohio State, USC and Oklahoma. Overall, Virginia players boast a combined 29-6 record in singles to go along with a 12-3 mark in doubles play.
In singles, the Cavaliers feature six ranked players, including the No. 1 player in the nation, Alex Domijan, who stands at a perfect-7-0 on the spring. Fifth-ranked Jamere Jenkins (5-1), 12th-ranked Mac Styslinger (4-1), 22nd-ranked Ryan Shane (4-1), 70th-ranked Harrison Richmond (1-0) and 81st-ranked Mitchell Frank (4-1) complete the squad for the Cavaliers
Virginia also features three-ranked doubles pairs, including the No. 2-ranked tandem of Jenkins and Styslinger with a 2-0 record. Seventh-ranked Richmond and Domijan (2-0) and 27th-ranked Shane and Julen Uriguen are tied for the team lead in doubles wins with a 4-2 mark.
The Texas A&M men’s tennis team will be in action again on Friday when it welcomes LSU for an SEC showdown. To learn more about the Texas A&M men’s tennis team, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter.