CORPUS CHRISTI - The 2013 Texas A&M - Corpus Christi Women's Tennis team has done something no other team in program history has done, breaking into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Top 75 at No. 60 in the entire nation, it was announced on Tuesday. The ITA Top 75 is a ranking of nearly 400 NCAA Division I schools in the United States.
After getting within three spots of the rankings last year, and finishing the season just six spots out of the ITA Top 75, the Islanders were able to break through after starting the season with an 8-0 mark, including a season-opening win over then-No. 75 Houston on the road.
"We are incredibly proud of these girls, as we have been very close now for two years," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "We were knocking on the door of this poll for a long time, so this is a big breakthrough for our team. Despite finally accomplishing one of our goals and earning a spot in the national rankings, we must stay extremely focused and committed to hard work, as we have two very challenging goals to meet."
Since the opener, the Islanders have wins over UTSA, Louisiana - Lafayette, Central Arkansas, Prairie View A&M, St. Mary's (TX) and two wins over Texas - Pan American.
The women join some very strong company in the national poll, with No. 55 Ohio State, No. 56 Arizona, No. 57 Tennessee, No. 58 South Florida, No. 59 Southern Illinois, No. 61 Washington State, No. 62 Delaware, No. 63 LSU, No 64 San Jose State, and No. 65 Kansas bookending the Islanders at No. 60 in the nation.
At the start of each season, the Islanders set out with three goals in mind, reaching the Top 75 rankings, winning the Southland Conference Championship and reaching and winning matches in the NCAA Championships.
For the first time in program history, the team has accomplished one of those goals, doing so under the guidance of Moore. A Corpus Christi native who originally started the men's tennis program before going on to coach at SMU, Texas Tech and Texas A&M, Moore returned for the 2007 season to take over the reigns for both teams.
Since that time, the team has improved each season, with the team earning the best finish in school history and winning a match at the Southland Conference Tournament for the first time.
The team will have its first match as a ranked team on March 9 in Natchitoches, La. against Northwestern State. The Lady Demons won the Southland Conference two seasons ago, and will be a tough test for the Islanders as they get into the meat of league play.
"As we talk about everyday, we have to stay in the present and keep chopping wood," said Moore. "The key for these girls is that they understand the root behind their success is that they have made the choices to be a true team, and to play each point separately with toughness and intelligence thus far."
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