TAMU-CC men blank upstart Nicholls State for Southland title

CORPUS CHRISTI — No. 6 Nicholls State saw its unlikely bid to win the 2009 Southland Conference Men’s Tennis Championship fall just short as No. 1 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi staked claim to a second consecutive league title with a 4-0 win in the tournament final Sunday at the HEB Tennis Center.

With their third conference title in six years, the Islanders, the undefeated regular season champions in 2009, earn a bid to compete in the NCAA Tournament, which begins with the First and Second Rounds on May 8-9 at campus sites yet to be determined.

“It will be a fun two weeks getting ready for the NCAAs, we’ll work as hard as we can and take our shot,” A&M-Corpus Christi head coach Steve Moore said. “I think this group has the potential to win several matches and it will always be a close battle. The seniors on this team will be pretty dangerous in the NCAAs.”

With both teams battling blustery conditions, including wind gusts of nearly 40 miles per hour, Mikhail Pavlov put the finishing touches on the Colonels title when he defeated Nicholls State’s Radu Ionescu 6-0, 7-5 at the second position.

“We did great today; our goal all year was to win the conference. We worked very hard to get through to the NCAAs,” A&M-Corpus Christi senior Mikhail Pavlov said. “Today was very tough because of the windy conditions, so we had to keep concentration the whole match. I just did my job and the rest of the guys did theirs.”

A&M-Corpus Christi tallied its second and third points at Nos. 3 and 6 singles. Eric Fischer retired after falling behind 5-0 to Islanders’ No. 2 Laurent Montoisy, and James Langford defeated Sami Mouline at love to claim the sixth position.

“I think that this group deserved this, the way they stuck together,” Islanders head coach Moore said. “All year long we worked hard and played hard to get to this point.”

The Islanders swept the doubles point away from Nicholls State to set the tone for a match that the Colonels were unexpectedly competing in after pulling off a pair of upsets in the first and second rounds. The Colonels ousted No. 3 UTSA in the opening round and No. 2 Texas-Pan American in the second round, doubling their win total after going just 1-5 in the conference’s regular season.

“I think this is an indication that Nicholls is going to be near the top of the Southland Conference,” head coach Jim Hunter said. “We return three players, get an injured player back and have three great recruits coming in. I am really looking forward to the future.”

Men’s Championship Results
No. 1 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 4, No. 6 Nicholls State 0
Apr 26, 2009, at Corpus Christi, Texas
Singles competition:

1. Dmitry Novikov (AMCC-M) vs. Abhaya Prakash (NICH-M) 6-4, 2-3, unfinished
2. Mikhail Pavlov (AMCC-M) def. Radu Ionescu (NICH-M) 6-0, 7-5
3. Laurent Montoisy (AMCC-M) def. Eric Fischer (NICH-M) 5-0, retired
4. Jose Zunino (AMCC-M) vs. Phenyo Matong (NICH-M) 6-3, 5-3, unfinished
5. Jaume Farras (AMCC-M) vs. Rohan Shetty (NICH-M) 7-6 (7-1), 5-2, unfinished
6. James Langford (AMCC-M) def. Sami Mouline (NICH-M) 6-0, 6-0

Doubles competition:
1. Mikhail Pavlov/Dmitry Novikov (AMCC-M) vs. Radu Ionescu/Abhaya Prakash (NICH-M) 4-4, unfinished
2. Laurent Montoisy/Jose Zunino (AMCC-M) def. Phenyo Matong/Eric Fischer (NICH-M) 8-2
3. James Langford/David Pace (AMCC-M) def. Rohan Shetty/Sami Mouline (NICH-M) 8-2

Match Notes:
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 14-8
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (3,6,2)

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Head Coach – Steve Moore

“I think that this group deserved this, the way they stuck together. All year long we worked hard and played hard to get to this point.”

“They focus on what they can control, they out work people and stick together, and this is an extra high character group”

“It will be a fun two weeks getting ready for the NCAAs, we’ll work as hard as we can and take our shot. I think this group has the potential to win several matches and it will always be a close battle. The seniors on this team will be pretty dangerous in the NCAAs.”

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Player – Senior Mikhail Pavlov

“We did great today, our goal all year was to win the conference. We worked very hard to get through to the NCAAs. Today was very tough because of the windy conditions, so we had to keep concentration the whole match. I just did my job and the rest of the guys did theirs.”

“We just have to bring everything we have at the NCAAs, we can’t get relaxed. We have to keep concentration and have more practices to get in between now and then because over there, anything can happen.”

“It will be difficult of course, but we are hoping to do well and looking forward to playing.”

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