Men's Tennis preview: Texas A&M
WHAT: No. 7 Texas (5-0) and No. 22 Texas A&M (3-0) go head-to-head in a renewal of the Texas Cup, a series of non-conference matches played in Houston from 2001-03; Texas won all three previous Texas Cup matches.
The match's outcome will count toward each team's regular season record, but the outcome will not affect the Big 12 Conference standings or the State Farm Lone Star Showdown standings.
WHERE: The Downtown Club at the Met -- Houston, Texas
WHEN: Friday, Feb. 8 -- 6 p.m. Central
ADMISSION: $10 for adults, $3 for students; proceeds from the gate will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the Houston Youth Tennis Association.
LAST MEETING WITH TEXAS A&M: The Longhorns defeated the Aggies by a 4-2 margin on April 6, 2007 at A&M's Mitchell Tennis Center. Texas owns an 82-12-2 lead in its series with Texas A&M.
ITA RANKINGS UPDATE: Texas is ranked No. 7 in the Jan. 29 release of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) team rankings. UT opened the season at No. 7, marking the highest preseason rank in coach Michael Center's eight-year tenure at Texas.
Freshman Kellen Damico opens at No. 24 in the ITA singles rankings, while freshman Ed Corrie ranks 52nd. Sophomore All-Big 12 standout Dimitar Kutrovsky ranks 53rd, and sophomore Jon Wiegand has made his ITA singles rankings debut at No. 100.
Damico and senior Luis Diaz Barriga hold the No. 12 doubles ranking after winning the ITA South Central Regional Championship. Corrie and senior Hubert Chodkiewicz rank 13th in the ITA doubles rankings.
THE 2008 LONGHORNS: Under head coach Michael Center, the 2007 USPTA National College Coach of the Year, Texas returns all 10 letterwinners from the 2007 squad that registered a 20-9 record and reached the round of 16 at the NCAA Championship. Texas reached the finals of the Big 12 Championship for a second consecutive season after defeating Texas Tech and upsetting Oklahoma State in the opening rounds.
Newcomers Kellen Damico and Ed Corrie have excelled early on in their Longhorn careers, as the duo boasts a collective 33-10 singles record. Damico won singles titles at the HEB Baylor Fall Invitational and the Racquet Club Collegiate Invitational in his first semester, and Corrie claimed the Texas Invitational in November.
Texas has opened the 2008 season with home victories over SMU, Clemson, Texas-Arlington and Texas-San Antonio. UT hit the road on Friday, Feb. 1 and tallied a 7-0 win at Arkansas. The Longhorns are unbeaten in their 15 doubles matches and hold a 27-3 singles record in their five dual matches.
Texas has earned its second consecutive invitation to the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Seattle. The Longhorns will join 15 teams at the four-day event, which runs Feb. 15-18 at the University of Washington's Nordstrom Tennis Center.
SCOUTING TEXAS A&M: Texas A&M has opened the season at 3-0 on the strength of home victories over Clemson, Boise State and Washington. The Aggies feature 23rd-ranked junior Conor Pollock, who reached the finals of the 2007 ITA South Central Regional Championship at UT's Penick-Allison Tennis Center.
Under second-year coach and former UT All-American Steve Denton, the Aggies have benefited from the play of newcomers Chris Chirico, Austin Krajicek and Wil Spencer. Ranked 90th in the ITA singles rankings, Chirico joined the Aggies last fall after playing his freshman season at St. Joseph's, and Krajicek and Spencer have moved quickly up the Aggie lineup after joining the program last month.