COLLEGE STATION -- Texas A&M men's tennis advanced to the SEC Tournament Championship match for the second straight season, as the No. 6 Aggies defeated the No. 20 Mississippi State Bulldogs 4-0 at the George P Mitchell Tennis Center Saturday afternoon. Texas A&M will take on No. 5 Georgia Sunday at 12 p.m. for the 2015 Tournament Championship.
"I think today was a pretty good day, we came out on top of a really good team," Texas A&M men's tennis head coach Steve Denton said. "Mississippi State is really good up and down the lineups and have had some great success in doubles play this season. So today's doubles point was really huge for us, when we played in Starkville they put us on our heels winning the doubles point."
The maroon and white opened play winning the doubles point for the 20th time this season. The 11th ranked pair of Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant dispatched No. 7 Florian Lakat and Julian Cash 6-2 on court one. The junior duo claimed their 5th win of the season over a top-10 pair and improved to 11-2 versus ranked opponents.
"Shane and Harry played really well yesterday having only lost six or seven points in the whole doubles match and they continued that today," Denton said. "The two of them are playing with a lot of energy and we need that going into tomorrow's match and on into the tournament."
In a race to clinch the match's first point seniors Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo lost out to freshman AJ Catanzariti and Arthur Rinderknech. The rookies rallied to defeat Juan Cruz Estevarena and Robin Haden in a tiebreaker on court three. The A&M duo are an astounding 17-4 this season, including a remarkable 11-2 mark against opponents from the SEC.
"The freshman really had to fight to get that point for us today," Denton added. "They dug themselves a hole and had to fight to get out of it, they did that yesterday also. They two of them have a lot of belief in themselves and that really shows on the court and on the scoreboard. "
As play transitioned to singles competition the Aggies maintained the pressure on the visiting Bulldogs, winning the first set on four of six courts. Rinderknech carried over his sensational play from doubles and skunked No. 118 Mate Cutura, who was forced to retire due to injury in the second set. The Paris, France native captured his first win over a ranked opponent improving to 15-3 this season.
Moments later Rinderknech's doubles partner put that Aggies ahead 3-0 with a straight set victory over Tassilo Schmid on court five. The Pittsburgh native prevailed in a first set tiebreaker before putting the Mississippi State senior away 6-1 in the second-set. The A&M right-hander improved to 35-9 on the season with an 18-4 record in dual matches.
Rinderknech and Catanzariti's classmate, Jordi Arconada, made it a 3-for-3 freshman singles sweep for the maroon and white. The Puerto Rico native prevailed in three sets over Julian Cash on court six, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0. The righty ran his record to 9-2 on the year including a 7-1 mark against conference foes.
The Aggies claimed the 2014 SEC Tournament Championship in Nashville, defeating South Carolina, Kentucky and Florida on successive days. Sunday's championship match is scheduled to be aired on SEC Network Plus, fans can view the match through the WatchESPN app or watchespn.com.