No. 11 Aggies Head to No. 2 Virginia
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M men's tennis head coach Steve Denton and his No. 11-ranked Aggie squad head to Charlottesville, Virginia, for a Super Bowl Sunday matchup against the country's second-ranked Cavaliers team from the University of Virginia.
"Obviously, this is a huge road test against the mighty Cavaliers of Virginia," Aggie head coach Steve Denton said. "They have four All-American caliber players in their top six. On paper, it seems this year that USC and Virginia have separated themselves from the rest of the field in terms of depth and talent. We will face both of these squads in the regular season and both matches will be huge opportunities for our players to compete and will really help the overall development of our team."
Virginia (1-0) opens the home portion of its schedule this weekend playing host to No. 15 Texas on Friday, No. 5 Florida on Saturday and then the No. 11 Aggies at 1 p.m. eastern (12 noon central) on Sunday.
"We will go into the match this Sunday humble and hungry for a fight," Denton explained. "I know our team is looking forward to the challenge. Coach (Brian) Boland and I have decided to count all of the matches, so we will be playing eight singles and four doubles with every match counting. I really like this format early in the season allowing all of our available guys to compete in a very competitive and meaningful match. It is important to keep everyone dialed in and sharp. This gives (assistant coach) Bob (McKinley) and I an opportunity to continue to evaluate all of our players while they are under pressure."
This match that will be played on Super Bowl Sunday will be played at the Boar's Head Sports Club (BHSC), the same venue for the ITA National Indoor Championships.
"We begin the indoor stretch of our season and will get an opportunity to play UVA on the same courts that we will be playing on in a couple of weeks in the ITA National Indoor Team Championships (Feb. 17-20)," Denton stated. "This should help us to adjust to the conditions."
The Aggies (4-0) earned the right to the ITA National Indoor Team Championships by beating Purdue in the first round and then advancing to the championships by virtue of a thrilling 4-3 decision over No. 14-ranked Mississippi State at the Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station last weekend.
"I thought our team did a great job of holding serve at the ITA Kick-Off last weekend," Denton said. "We had to overcome some adversity against a very tough Mississippi State squad. I believe we will look back and see the significance of that victory going forward this spring."
The win against Mississippi State set an overall school record for Aggie athletics as the tennis team has compiled a 40-match winning streak. The previous record was a 39-game winning streak put together by the Aggie baseball team in 1988 and 1989.
The Cavaliers have a school-record 89-match winning streak entering play this weekend and dating back to 2006. It was also 2006 the last time these two schools faced each other on the tennis courts. UVA put together a 6-1 victory over Texas A&M in Charlottesville. A&M head coach Steve Denton last faced the Cavaliers in 2005.
"This will be the first time that one of my teams has played against Virginia since my Texas A&M Corpus Christi team gave the No. 2-ranked Virginia team a scare (4-2) in the second round of the NCAA Championships," Denton said. "I remember they had a great crowd that day and I anticipate more of the same this weekend. This is the first year of a four-year commitment to play Virginia in the regular-season. They will come to Aggieland next spring."