GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The 11th-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team bounced back from losing the doubles point to win the first two singles matches, but 22nd-ranked South Carolina regrouped for a 4-2 victory in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament Friday.
The sixth-seeded Gamecocks (17-8) advance to play second-seeded Mississippi State (20-3) at noon Saturday in the semifinals. Mississippi State advanced with a 4-2 victory over Vanderbilt. The Aggies (20-7) await the NCAA tournament, which begins May 3-4. A&M is hopeful of being a Top 16 seed, earning the right to host first- and second-round matches, though the Aggies have lost three of their last four matches.
Friday’s match was played in blustery conditions and an hour early because of inclement weather in the forecast.
“I thought that South Carolina was better prepared today to handle the tough conditions, and that is on me,” A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “They won the important points on a few key courts. We need to use this time to get better in several areas for each player, and that is what we will focus on.”
A&M took a 2-1 lead as freshman Noah Schachter beat Thomas Brown 6-1, 7-5 at No. 5 singles and sophomore Barnaby Smith topped Beau Pelletier 6-2, 7-5 victory at No. 4 singles.
The Gamecocks, who lost to A&M 5-2 at home on March 29, won two three-set victories at No. 1 and No. 2 singles and wrapped up the match by winning at No. 3 singles.
“We’ve been hunting all year for a Top 10 win,” South Carolina coach Josh Goffi said. “This team felt they could do it all year and it was awesome to see the boys come through today.”
South Carolina 4, Texas A&M 2
No. 6 Paul Jubb, South Carolina, def. No. 30 Juan Carlos Aguilar 1-6, 6-0, 6-3; No. 119 Daniel Rodrigues, South Carolina, def. No. 74 Hady Habib 6-3, 2-6, 6-0; Raphael Lambling, South Carolina, def. No. 58 Valentin Vacherot 6-3, 7-6 (7-5); Barnaby Smith, A&M, def. Beau Pelletier 6-2, 7-5; Noah Schachter, A&M, def. Thomas Brown 6-1, 7-5; Austin Abbrat, A&M, vs. Yancy Dennis 7-5, 4-6, DNF
Rodrigues/Lambling , South Carolina, def. (7) Aguilar/Smith 6-4; Jubb/Dennis, South Carolina, def. Vacherot/Schachter 6-2; Habib/Pranav Kumar, A&M, def. Pelletier/Jake Beasley 6-3
Order of finish: D3, D2, D1, S5, S4, S1, S2, S3