No. 13 Men’s Tennis preview: at No. 33 Texas A&M
When: Wednesday, March 9, 2022, 6 p.m. CT
Where: George P. Mitchell Tennis Center, College Station, Texas
Team Records: Texas (7-6, 0-0 Big 12), Texas A&M (8-5, 1-0 SEC)
Live Stats: https://hookem.at/MTN-Stats
Live Video: https://hookem.at/MTN-Watch
Web Cast: Cracked Racquets (YouTube)
-Texas A&M Series: Texas leads, 94-17-3
Texas leads the all-time series with Texas A&M, 94-17-3, with the teams last facing each other last year in Austin, a match which the Longhorns won, 4-3, although it had been clinched at 4-0. The last meeting to be played in College Station was in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament, which was also a 4-3 win for Texas. However this will be the first regular season match played in College Station since 2011, which the Aggies won, 5-2. Despite a lopsided overall series history in favor of the Longhorns, since 2010 the teams have met 11 times with Texas holding a 6-5 edge in those matches.
Last 11 Meetings
2021: Mar. 31 – at Texas (Austin): W, 4-3
2016: May 15 – NCAA Tournament Second Round (College Station): W, 4-3
2013: May 11 – NCAA Second Round (College Station): L, 4-3
2012: Apr. 27 – Big 12 Championships First Round (College Station): L, 4-2
2012: Apr. 14 – at Texas (Austin): W, 4-3
2012: Feb. 18 – ITA National Indoor Championships (Charlottesville, Va.): W, 4-1
2012: Feb. 10 – Texas Cup (in Corpus Christi): L, 4-3
2011: Apr. 29 – Big 12 Championships Semifinals (Waco): L, 4-0
2011: Apr. 23 – at Texas A&M (College Station): L, 5-2
2010: May 2 – Big 12 Championships Finals (Austin): W, 4-3
2010: Apr. 21 – at Texas A&M (College Station): W, 7-0
No. 7 Texas 4, No. 6 Texas A&M 3
Wed., March 31, 2021
Austin, Texas • Texas Tennis Center
Singles – Order of Finish (3,4,6,2,5,1)
1. #5 Valentin Vacherot (TAMU) def. #23 Eliot Spizzirri (UT) 6-4, 7-5
2. #64 Juan Carlos Aguilar (TAMU) def. #16 Micah Braswell (UT) 6-4, 6-3
3. #99 Siem Woldeab (UT) def. #77 Noah Schachter (TAMU) 6-1, 7-5
4. Cleeve Harper (UT) def. #78 Pierce Rollins (TAMU) 6-3, 6-2
5. Raphael Perot (TAMU) def. Chih Chi Huang (UT) 6-4, 6-4
6. Evin McDonald (UT) def. Bjorn Thomson (TAMU) 7-6 (4), 6-4
Doubles – Order of Finish (3,1,2)
1. #12 Eliot Spizzirri/Siem Woldeab (UT) def. #8 Juan Carlos Aguilar/Bjorn Thomson (TAMU) 7-5
2. Cleeve Harper/Chih Chi Huang (UT) def. Pierce Rollins/Valentin Vacherot (TAMU) 7-6 (9)
3. Pranav Kumar/Noah Schachter (TAMU) def. Micah Braswell/Jacob Bullard (UT) 6-4
-Texas vs. Texas A&M in 2021-22 tournament play
ITA Texas Regionals
#62 Noah Schachter (TAMU) def. #61 Richard Ciamarra (UT), 7-6 (4), 6-2
Evin McDonald (UT) def. Luke Casper (TAMU), 6-4, 6-2
Raphael Perot (TAMU) def. #58 Siem Woldeab (UT), 7-5, 6-4
Richard Ciamarra/Cleeve Harper (UT) def. Rahul Dhokia/Anish Sriniketh (TAMU), 8-2
-ITA Team Rankings
Texas is ranked No. 13 in the latest 2022 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Top 25 Coaches Poll released on March 2. The No. 14 ranking on Feb. 9 marked first week Texas had been outside of the top 10 after 43-straight weeks in dating back to the beginning of the 2019 season. Texas A&M is No. 33 in the poll, which had been voted on by the ITA National Ranking Committee until Feb. 23 when it shifted to computerized rankings.
-ITA Individual Rankings
Texas has seven listings in the most recent ITA individual rankings that were released Feb. 23 with four in singles and three doubles pairs, however Eliot Spizzirri did not play singles in the fall, which impacted the rankings.
No. 50 Raphael Perot
No. 50 Austin Abbrat/Noah Schachter
-ITA National Team Indoor Championships
Texas appeared in the ITA Indoor Nationals for the fourth-straight season, and the seventh in the last nine, only missing in 2016 and 2018 in that stretch. The Longhorns topped fourth-seeded No. 5 Florida, 4-3, on Feb. 18 to reach the quarterfinals for the third time in the last four years before falling to fifth-seeded No. 4 TCU, 4-0, on Feb. 19, and eighth-seeded No. 6 Wake Forest, 4-2, in a consolation match on Feb. 20. Texas reached the semifinals of the tournament in 2019 and the quarterfinals in 2020.
-Texas and Wake Forest Meet Again
Texas and Wake Forest met at this year’s ITA Indoors for the first time since the 2019 NCAA Championship final. The Longhorns opened with a strong doubles point despite Cleeve Harper being out of the lineup. They then received a singles win from Micah Braswell, while Wake Forest posted four singles victories at Nos. 3-6 to take the match. Trailing 3-2 overall, Texas had an opportunity to overcome the deficit down to the end with Eliot Spizzirri attempting to break at No. 4 to get his third set back on serve, but a final deuce point went to the Demon Deacons to clinch. The remaining match that went unfinished had Pierre-Yves Bailly just beginning a third set at No. 2.
-Big 12 Foe in Seattle
The Longhorns fell 4-0 to fifth-seeded No. 4 TCU in the quarterfinals of the ITA National Indoor Championship on Feb. 19. Despite the score, Cleeve Harper and Siem Woldeab were leading their matches when play stopped, while Micah Braswell was even in his. Richard Ciamarra also came close to winning a second-set tiebreaker that would have extended both his match and the overall one, but fell just short.
-Texas Avenges Loss to Florida
Texas and Florida squared off for the second time this season after Florida won, 4-3, on Jan. 16 in Austin. The Longhorns returned the favor with a 4-3 win of their own on Feb. 18 at the ITA National Indoor Championships in Seattle. Texas won the doubles point and recorded singles wins by Micah Braswell at No. 1 and Richard Ciamarra at No. 3, along with the clincher by freshman Pierre-Yves Bailly at No. 2 that broke a 3-3 overall tie. Bailly’s win came over No. 3 Ben Shelton, while Braswell topped defending NCAA Singles Champion Sam Riffice.
-Sweeping Up Rice and UCF
Texas completed its second sweep of the weekend with a 4-0 victory over UCF on Feb. 13 at the Texas Tennis Center. The Longhorns won the doubles point and followed with singles victories by Pierre-Yves Bailly at No. 2, Siem Woldeab at No. 5, and Micah Braswell at No. 1. Bailly returned to the lineup after not playing in the previous match and picked up a top-50 win with a 6-1, 6-4 decision over No. 50 Trey Hilderbrand. Texas had opened the weekend with a 7-0 sweep of Rice on Jan 11. The Longhorns used the doubles point and four straight-sets singles wins from Woldeab at No. 4, Cleeve Harper at No. 5, Braswell at No. 1, and Chih Chi Huang at No. 6, along with two more third-set superbreaker wins from Richard Ciamarra at No. 3, and Eliot Spizzirri at No. 2.
-Non-Conference in Waco
The Longhorns traveled to Waco to face No. 2 Baylor on Feb. 7 in a match that had originally been scheduled for Feb. 4 but was rescheduled due to travel conditions with winter weather. Richard Ciamarra won his singles match and the Longhorns were close in two other singles matches by Pierre-Yves Bailly and Cleeve Harper that went to superbreakers, along with the doubles point, but ultimately fell 6-1.
-Braswell Makes It Back-to-Back Big 12 Players of the Week for Texas
Micah Braswell was named Big 12 Men’s Tennis Player of the Week for the week ending January 30, the conference. It marks Braswell’s first conference weekly honor of the season and the second of his career. It was also the second-straight week a Longhorn earned the award after senior Richard Ciamarra did so the week before.
-Sweeping the ITA Kickoff Weekend
Texas hosted the ITA Kickoff Weekend for the eighth-straight year going back to the 2014 season when the Longhorns traveled to Nashville. The Longhorns produced 4-0 sweeps in both of their matches against Columbia and Oregon and have advanced in the ITA Indoor Nationals in each of the last four seasons, and seven out of the last nine, only missing in 2016 and 2018 in that stretch.
-Ciamarra Earns First Big 12 Player of the Week Honor
Richard Ciamarra picked up his first Big 12 Player of the Week honor since joining the Longhorns this season as a graduate transfer. Ciamarra went 4-0 with two ranked singles wins against No. 14 Arizona and RV Arizona State after having to move up in the lineup due to injuries. That also included two doubles victories with partner Cleeve Harper. It was also the first weekly honor for the Longhorns this season after two weeks of play.
The Longhorns dropped their first match of their Arizona road trip to No. t-14 Arizona, 4-3, in Tucson on Jan. 21. It was the first road dual match of the season for Texas, which rallied for three singles victories following the Wildcats’ clinch. The wins came from Cleeve Harper at No. 5, Richard Ciamarra at No. 4 and Pierre-Yves Bailly at No. 3. However, they rebounded for a 6-1 win over Arizona State two days later, sweeping all six singles matches from Micah Braswell at No. 2, Harper at No. 4, Nevin Arimilli at No. 5, Evin McDonald at No. 6, Ciamarra at No. 3, and Bailly at No 1.
-So Close Against No. 1
Texas posted singles wins at Nos. 1, 2 and 4 against No. 1 Florida, but were edged, 4-3, by the defending champion Gators on Jan. 16 at the Texas Tennis Center. The singles victories included Eliot Spizzirri at No. 1, Micah Braswell at No. 2 and Richard Ciamarra at No. 4 after Florida had won the doubles point in a tiebreaker of the deciding third match in which they led by three points.
-25th-Straight Season-Opening Win
The Longhorns took their season opener over UTSA, 6-1, on Jan. 14 at the Texas Tennis Center. It marked the 25th-straight season-opening victory for the Longhorns dating back to 1998. Texas used the doubles point and five singles wins from Pierre-Yves Bailly at No. 2, Richard Ciamarra at No. 3, No. 105 Siem Woldeab at No. 4, No. 73 Cleeve Harper at No. 5, and Chih Chi Huang at No. 6. Eliot Spizzirri did not play singles, but did partner with Woldeab at No. 1 doubles for a win to help secure that point.
-Miami Spring Invite
The Longhorns began the spring season with individual play against opponents from No. 9 Georgia, No. 11 UCF and Miami. The tournament had been designed for round robin competition against each of the three teams, however only two members of the Hurricanes were available to play. Additionally, weather cancelled a majority of the singles matches on the second day. For Texas, Eliot Spizzirri did not play, but the results were highlighted by freshman Pierre-Yves Bailly picking up a win over No. 16 Trey Hilderbrand of UCF in his first singles match as a Longhorn, along with the No. 13 pair of Richard Ciamarra and Cleeve Harper topping the No. 22 duo of Hilderbrand and Bogdan Pavel of UCF.
-Challenging Non-Conference Schedule
The Longhorns have 14 non-conference dual matches scheduled this season against teams that appear in the top-35 of the ITA national rankings, including home matches with No. 1 Florida (L, 4-3, Jan. 16), RV Columbia (W, 4-0, Jan. 29), No. 3 Ohio State (Mar. 12) and No. 16 Oklahoma (Mar. 27), road contests at No. t-14 Arizona (L, 4-3, Jan. 21), RV Arizona State (W, 6-1, Jan. 23), No. 2 Baylor (L, 6-1, Feb. 7), No. 15 Georgia (L, 4-3, Mar. 1), No. 33 Texas A&M (Mar. 9), No. 10 USC (Mar. 15), and No. 19 Pepperdine (Mar. 17), and neutral site matches against No. 5 Florida (W, 4-3, Feb. 18), No. 4 TCU (L, 4-0, Feb. 19) and No. 6 Wake Forest (L, 4-2, Feb. 20) at the ITA Indoors. The matches against Baylor, Oklahoma and TCU prior to Big 12 play and are non-conference with those teams meeting again later in conference play.
-Back from the Final Four
In the fourth season under head coach Bruce Berque, Texas returned almost all of its regular singles and doubles lineups from a team that reached the Final Four of last year’s NCAA Championships. Of the retuning players, Eliot Spizzirri earned All-America honors in both singles and doubles last season, while Siem Woldeab did so in doubles and was a second-team All-Big 12 selection in singles. Micah Braswell was also second-team all-conference in singles and named the unanimous Big 12 Freshman of the Year, while Cleeve Harper shared the Big 12 Individual Championship at No. 4 singles. Chih Chi Huang and Evin McDonald return after playing majority of the matches at No. 5 and No. 6 singles, respectively, as do Nevin Arimilli and Eshan Talluri.
-Two New Faces
The Longhorns add two new faces in graduate transfer Richard Ciamarra from Notre Dame, who arrived in the fall, and true freshman Pierre-Yves Bailly, who joins the team for the spring. Ciamarra was a 2020 ITA All-American in singles and a three-time All-ACC selection and was ranked as high as No. 6 in singles and No. 28 in doubles in 2021. Bailly has been the top junior player in Belgium and reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Juniors, along with the second round of the Roland Garros Juniors, in 2021.
-Berque at the Helm
Bruce Berque is in his fourth season as the head coach at Texas having taken over midway through the 2019 season. From there, he has led the Longhorns to a 59-17 overall record (.776) that includes 24-6 last season with an appearance in the Final Four and a share of the Big 12 regular season title, 13-3 in a season shortened by the pandemic in 2020, and 15-2 in 2019 en route to the guiding Texas to its first team National Championship. The Longhorns also earned the Big 12 regular season championship that year. Texas finished ranked in the top four in all three of the previous seasons at No. 3 in 2021, No. 4 in 2020 and No. 1 in 2019.
Eliot Spizzirri and Chih Chi Huang both missed all of fall singles play due to injury with Huang also missing doubles, but Spizzirri played in limited doubles at the ITA Fall Nationals. Richard Ciamarra and Siem Woldeab were also working through injuries in the fall. However, over the summer, Spizzirri won the singles title of the ITF Futures in Decatur, Ill. for his first pro singles title, along with winning the doubles title at the ITF Futures in Champaign, Ill., the week before. He then earned a singles qualifying wild card to the U.S. Open and advanced to the second round with a win over ATP No. 163 Alejandro Tabilo. After that, he received a doubles main draw wild card at the U.S. Open. Later in the fall, Spizzirri and Woldeab reached the quarterfinals of the ITA Fall Nationals, and Spizzirri later paired with former Longhorn Colin Markes to make the semifinals of the DropshotLLC Pro Tennis Open in Austin.
Micah Braswell posted eight singles wins in the fall, including reaching the semifinals of the ITA Texas Regionals where he came up just short in three sets to No. 18 Juan Carlos Aguilar. Cleeve Harper picked up his first pro title, taking the M15 Cancun with partner Liam Draxl. Prior to that, Harper and Ciamarra reached the finals of the ITA Texas Regionals shortly after advancing to the round of 16 at the ITA All-American Championships. January enrollee Pierre-Yves Bailly also captured his first pro singles title at the Monastir 15K in Tunisia and additionally reached the doubles final there in November 2021.
-Year Five at the Texas Tennis Center
Texas opened its fifth year of play at the Texas Tennis Center this year and is 5-1 so far to give the Longhorns a 53-6 (.898) overall record in its history. Texas posted a 14-2 mark in 2021, which included wins over No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 9 Florida and No. 15 Arizona. In a shortened season in 2020, UT recorded a 9-0 record that featured wins against No. 8 Stanford, No. 18 Georgia and No. 21 Florida State. The Longhorns finished 2019 with a 15-1 mark, including wins over No. 1 Ohio State, No. 6 Baylor and No. 12 Columbia, along with three NCAA Tournament victories. The lone loss that year came to No. 15 USC. During its inaugural season, Texas posted a 10-2 record, including winning the 2018 Big 12 Tournament.