NACOGDOCHES — Junior Martin Ayala came back from a set down to clinch the winning point and No. 4 seed UTSA knocked off defending Southland Conference Tournament Champion Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 4-2, on Friday at the Schlief Tennis Complex.
The Roadrunners (12-10) upended the Islanders, who won their fifth consecutive regular season title last week, for the second time this spring and advanced to the league's championship match for the 10th time in the last dozen years.
“I thought it was a great battle between two great teams,” second-year head coach Jeff Kader said. “It was a physical, hard-fought match and I couldn’t be happier for my guys. The win is great for us, but we have to be ready to go tomorrow with the quick turnaround. We are
going to enjoy this for about 30 more minutes and then start
preparing for tomorrow."
UTSA took an early 2-0 lead after winning the doubles session and freshman David Kelleher's quick sweep (6-2, 6-2) of Fernando Llorens at No. 5 singles.
However, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (11-12) bounced back to tie the contest with triumphs at the Nos. 1 and 4 positions.
The Roadrunners reclaimed the advantage after senior Daniel Moser completed a straight-sets victory (6-4, 6-1) against Gergo Weidinger at the sixth spot.
Ayala then propelled UTSA to the championship match after completing a come-from-behind, three-set victory over Matt Westmoreland at No. 3 singles. The Quito, Ecuador, native lost the opening frame 6-1, but he rallied for consecutive 6-4 wins to clinch the two-point win.
UTSA will take on second-seed Nicholls, which topped No. 3 UT Arlington, 4-1, in the day's other semifinal matchup.
The Colonels (10-9) edged the Roadrunners, 4-3, in the only meeting this season back on Feb. 19.
UTSA 4, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 2
1. Zanotelli/Junger (UTSA) def. Nagy/Tave (AMCC) 8-6
2. Ayala/Brown (UTSA) def. Westmoreland/Robinson (AMCC) 8-3
3. Maingot/Pavlov (AMCC) vs. Kilgo/Rubio (UTSA) unfinished
1. Aurelien Tave (AMCC) def. Yannick Junger (UTSA) 6-2, 6-0
2. Peter Nagy (AMCC) vs. Tyler Brown (UTSA) unfinished
3. Martin Ayala (UTSA) def. Matt Westmoreland (AMCC) 1-6, 6-4, 6-4
4. Nathan Robinson (AMCC) def. Joel Rubio (UTSA) 6-1, 6-4
5. David Kelleher (UTSA) def. Fernando Llorens (AMCC) 6-2, 6-2
6. Daniel Moser (UTSA) def. Gergo Weidinger (AMCC) 6-4, 6-1