Rubber match results in victory for A&M

Wes Maulsby

Last season, Texas entered the Big 12 tournament as the conference’s No. 1 seed and had the advantage of playing in Austin. It was a different story this season — after going 3-3 in conference, Texas wound up with the No. 3 seed and had to go through the top teams in the conference if it was going to have a chance to repeat.

That spelled defeat for Texas, which was swept by Texas A&M 4-0 on Saturday in the semifinals at Baylor Tennis Center in Waco.

The Longhorns found themselves in a rubber match against A&M with a spot in the finals at stake. Using a different lineup than usual, Texas struck first at the second doubles spot. The tandem of sophomore Ben Chen and senior Kellen Damico got out to an early 3-1 lead against the Aggies. They eventually secured the 8-3 win, but A&M followed up with an equally dominant win at the No. 3 doubles spot over Texas’ Chris Camillone and Daniel Whitehead, 8-2.

In the first doubles match, Texas got up 3-1 with senior Ed Corrie and sophomore Vasko Mladenov breaking A&M. But the Aggies came back, winning the next five games to claim the match and the doubles point. That gave the Aggies the lead, which they never lost.

“We played well at No. 2 doubles, and I thought we had some chances at No. 1,” said Texas head coach Michael Center. “But they just outplayed us.”

A&M won every first set of singles, and was able to put away both Corrie and Damico in straight sets to advance to the finals on Sunday. The Aggies eventually won the conference title, defeating Oklahoma 4-0.