Longhorns sweep Aggies out of NCAA tournament


The No. 17 Texas A&M men’s tennis team made its way to the Texas Tennis Center in Austin for a Super Regional duel against the No. 3 Texas Longhorns on Friday, May 10. The Longhorns came away with the perfect 4-0 victory, and ended the Aggies season in the Sweet 16.

A&M advanced to the round of 16 after defeating the No. 18 San Diego Toreros 4-2 on May 4. The Aggies came into the duel with a chip on their shoulder, but coach Steve Denton said he knew anything can happen in the Lone Star Showdown.

“Many schools would love to be in our shoes, with a fighting chance to keep going,” Denton said. “Texas is a very good team and when these two old rivals get together, it is always special. I know our team is looking forward to the challenge.”

Doubles play began with a huge upset, as Texas’ No. 26 duo of fifth-year seniors Eliot Spizzirri and Siem Woldeab took down A&M’s No. 14 team of junior Giulio Perego and sophomore Togan Tokac, 7-5.

However, A&M’s team of junior JC Roddick and freshman Lathan Skrobarcek tied things up in doubles after they defeated the junior Pierre-Yves Bailly and fifth-year senior Eshan Talluri, 6-6 (7-3).

With the doubles point on the line, it was the Longhorns who came out on top, as the duo of Senior Micah Braswell and redshirt senior Cleeve Harper came back from down 4-1 to defeat the junior Luke Casper and freshman Tiago Pires, 7-5.

With a 1-0 lead, Texas carried its momentum from doubles play into singles, as Harper defeated Skrobarcek in two one-sided sets, 6-3, 6-1. This win gave the Longhorns a 2-0 lead with a ticket to the Elite 8 on the line.

No. 5 Sophomore Jonah Braswell extended the Longhorns’ lead even further after he defeated Perego in two quick sets, 6-3, 6-3. Braswell’s dominant performance meant that Texas now led 3-0, and needed just one more point to move on to the next round.

And move on the Longhorns will, as freshman Gilles-Arnaud Bailly defeated Tokac in two hard-fought sets, 6-3, 6-4 to earn the 4-0 win and send themselves into the quarterfinals of the tournament.

One of the biggest names missing from today’s lineup sheet was A&M’s highest-ranked singles competitor, No. 20 senior Raphael Perot.

“They fought really hard in doubles and obviously had a chance to win, so we had a shot,” Denton said. “They were just a little bit too experienced and good for us, but I was proud of the way our guys competed tonight and played really hard. Despite our leader not being out there, I thought the rest of the guys stepped up and played at a high level which I was very pleased to see.”

Texas now awaits the winner of No. 7 Tennessee versus No. 10 Florida State. The loss ends the Aggies’ tournament dreams and season, as the Fightin’ Farmers final record ends with 20 wins and 11 losses.