No. 4 Baylor men’s tennis team was dealt its first loss yesterday against in-state and former Big 12 rival No. 3 ranked Texas A&M team, 4-2 on Wendnesday at the Hawkins Indoor Center.
The Bears (5-1) hoped to keep the momentum going but fell short to a seasoned A&M team.
“Just wasn’t assertive enough, wasn’t aggressive enough, they kind of took the racket out of our hands,” said head coach Matt Knoll.
The Aggies (5-0) were being led by Arthur Rinderknech and Shane Visant, who are both ranked individually at No. 5 and No. 29, respectively.
The Bears’ night started off on the wrong foot, losing the doubles matches 2-1.
The Bears looked poised to take the doubles point, but fell short in the last match at 6-4 when the Aggies broke the Bears, then served it out to take the match and get the point for their team.
Going into singles already down for the first time this season, the Bears looked to stay focused and bring the intensity up.
Senior Julian Lenz, the Bears’ No. 1 player on the roster, led the way for Baylor. Lenz was able to knock off the fifth-ranked Rinderknech, 6-4, 6-1.
“I’ve been playing really well these last couple days and in practice and also in the last couple matches,” Lenz said. “I knew exactly how to play this guy. I was a little unsure about it in the beginning, but after a few games I knew how to play him. It was a holding serve contest.”
Senior Felipe Rios, although not playing at his peak, also came out victorious to cut the deficit to 3-2 as he took the match 7-5, 6-4 to move to 4-0 in singles dual-match play.
Unfortunately, those would be the only two victories that the Bears would take.
Although redshirt freshman Will Little played solid tennis and put up a good fight to win his first set, he was unable to keep the momentum going.
The Aggies took a 4-2 lead and the win.
The lack of opportunities playing in college match settings hurt the Bears tonight, Knoll said, but he was proud of the way the veterans played.
“I think you just saw that those guys are a little more experience, a little bit more seasoned,” Knoll said. “Those guys play a lot more tennis in these match settings.”
Going forward, the Bears look to regroup and take on No. 19 Ole Miss at 6 p.m. Saturday at Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center.
“We scheduled these kinds of teams because you want to be pushed and exposed and shown where we need to be better. This match did that,” Knoll said.