Kellen Damico

Tennis

Texas will try to make another run at its first national championship beginning on May 13. It has earned the No. 13 national seed and is one of only two top-16 seeds not to host a first round, or the round of 32. Instead, Oklahoma will host the matches in Norman.


Texas will open up the NCAA team tournament against Missouri-Kansas City, and Oklahoma will play Tulsa. The winners of those matches will meet to decide who gets to advance to the round of 16, which will be played at Stanford University. Stanford also hosts the remainder of the tournament. Texas has already played both Tulsa and Oklahoma, having beaten the Golden Hurricanes 6-1, but losing to the Sooners 4-3.


Along with the team, Texas also placed three players in the individual NCAA championships. Seniors Ed Corrie and Kellen Damico have both earned spots to compete in the 64-player singles draw. Corrie will also team up with junior Jean Andersen to compete in the 32-team doubles portion of the tournament.


Corrie will be making his third run at an NCAA championship, and Damico will be making his second.

Neither Corrie or Damico have advanced past the first round individually, and this will be the first NCAA tournament for Andersen, as well as the first time for Corrie and Andersen as a duo.

In the final home matches of their careers, seniors Ed Corrie and Kellen Damico both walked out of Penick-Allison Tennis Center with wins, and No. 11 Texas defeated 38th-ranked Nebraska 5-2 on Sunday.

With the math even at one point each, Damico gave Texas its first lead in the match. After taking the first set, Damico held a 5-2 lead before Nebraska’s Christopher Aumueller tightened the match to 5-4. But Damico proved too strong and took the next game to seal the point, 6-4, 6-4. After starting the season at the No. 3 position in the lineup, Damico took advantage of the opportunities given to him and worked his way up. As Texas juggled inconsistency problems heading into conference play, Damico continued to produce and has been one of the team’s biggest strengths.

The second member of Texas’ senior class also had a nice afternoon in his final match in Austin. Corrie dropped the first set of his match but quickly recovered. With the match already secured, Corrie was the last man on the court and was able to take a long third set 6-4 to take his final point in Austin.

“I’m happy for my seniors, Ed Corrie and Kellen Damico, to see them win on senior day,” said Texas head coach Michael Center.

Texas got itself in trouble for the third straight match, as Nebraska fought through a Texas match point in doubles to take the opening point as well as the lead heading into singles competition. Texas failed to take the doubles point for the third straight match after only losing one in its first 17 matches.

“We got into a hole after doubles. We had a chance to win the doubles point and got to match point, but before you knew it, Nebraska had won it, and it was over,” Center said. “It became a bit of a roller coaster after that.”
But the Longhorns came roaring back in singles. Including Nebraska, they have now won five of their last six singles points.

Junior Jean Andersen leveled the match at one apiece after quickly disposing of Nebraska’s Andre Stenger in straight sets. After Damico, Texas got its third point in a straight set win from sophomore Vasko Mladenov, and the clincher came from fellow sophomore Daniel Whitehead in three sets.

“Ben Chen lost a tough match again after being up a break in the third, and then Daniel Whitehead got us the clinching point in the end,” Center said.

Texas got out to a quick 3-1 lead, after claiming points at Nos. 1, 3 and 5 spots in singles but wasn’t able to take full control of the other matches until the very end.

The win puts Texas at 3-2 in the Big 12 and 17-6 overall. Texas finishes the regular season Saturday as it travels to College Station to take on conference-leading Texas A&M.

Coming off its second conference loss — one that knocked it out of contention for the Big 12 regular-season championship — Texas hosted Texas Tech on Sunday in an important match for positioning in the postseason. Texas overcame a sluggish start to take the match 5-2 and put itself in fourth place in the Big 12.

For the second-straight match, Texas was unable to take the doubles point, but it came back with strong singles play. Senior Kellen Damico leveled the match at 1-1 with a quick win at court one. He beat Texas Tech’s 20th-ranked Gonzalo Escobar in straight sets.

“Kellen Damico had a tough one the other day [against Baylor], but he played solid tennis at the end of his match,” said Texas head coach Michael Center. “He put a lot of first serves in play, stayed consistent and didn’t make mistakes at the end. When he does all of that, he’s tough to beat.”

Damico began the season at the No. 3 spot for Texas but competed over the weekend in the No. 1 spot because of injuries.

Shortly after Damico, sophomore Daniel Whitehead also won in straight sets to give Texas its first lead of the match at 2-1. Texas would go on to win the first five singles matches, with Texas Tech’s only win coming at court two. Senior Ed Corrie fought back after getting shut out in the first set to take the second and force a tiebreaker in the third. After taking the first two points, he conceded the next eight and fell 10-5.

“Jean Andersen made some mistakes in the first set,” Center said. “We felt that if he could make this guy work, make some passing shots and cut out mistakes that he would dictate the match. Jean was really solid in how he finished.”

Andersen and Corrie were the only two Texas players to lose a set in the entire match — all of Texas’ points came in straight sets, including the match clincher from freshman Sudanwa Sitaram.

“They got on top of us at Nos. 1 and 2 [doubles], and we just didn’t make the plays,” Center said. “They did a good job and got that point.”

Texas hasn’t gotten the production it has been used to from the doubles the last couple of matches, but it was able to overcome that with a dominant showing in singles play.

The win put Texas at 2-2 in conference and 16-6 overall. It stands fourth in the Big 12, with Nebraska (sixth in Big 12) and Texas A&M (first) left in the regular season. 

Texas suffered its second loss of the season on Tuesday at the hands of North Carolina, and will try to right the ship tonight against USC in Los Angeles.

For the second time this season, Texas got a lead by taking the doubles point, only to lose it in the singles part of the match. Texas had taken a two-point lead after senior Kellen Damico took his point in straight sets. With every point playing close the entire time, Texas wasn’t able to take another point to lose 5-2 to the Tar Heels.

Both Texas and USC are heading into this match with two losses, and will be looking to rebound to get back among the nation’s elite.

Once again, Texas has a favorable match up in the doubles portion, but USC holds the advantage in singles, with four players ranked in the top-60, led by Steve Johnson, the No. 1 singles player in the nation. Considering that both of Texas’ losses have come from singles play, the match against USC plays right into Texas’ weakness.

Texas has four players ranked in the top-120, but it was not able to close out any of the points against North Carolina, losing five straight. Fortunately for the Longhorns, Damico continues to play well filling in for junior Jean Andersen and their doubles game has a favorable matchup against the Trojans.

Texas features three duos ranked in the top-35, while USC’s only ranked pair comes in at No. 64. It will be important that Texas continue to take the doubles point to take some pressure off a singles game that has not been among the nations elite.

For the Longhorns, this will be another chance to make a statement. Head coach Michael Center thinks that his team has the potential to surprise people this season, but they can’t have a repeat of the performance against North Carolina.

After a disappointing result on Tuesday, Texas will want to improve their game and make sure that it doesn’t let another lead get away.

Men's Tennis

As North Carolina rushed the courts, the team’s chant of “Tar! Heels!” could be heard echoing throughout the Penick-Allison Tennis Center on Tuesday. UNC came into the match against Texas needing a signature win, and it got one.

Texas had come into the match ranked No. 3 in the nation, but was unable to top the intensity that the No. 30 Tar Heels brought with them to Austin.

“North Carolina fought harder than we did. They deserved to win,” said Texas head coach Michael Center.

Trailing two points to three, Longhorn senior Ed Corrie’s rally in the third set fell short, sealing the win for the Tar Heels. After taking the first set 7-5, Corrie conceded the next four games to trail in the second before making a small push to lose 2-6. Corrie got out to another slow start in the third and trailed 5-2 before starting a comeback.

With North Carolina only needing one point to take the match, Corrie held serve to prolong the match. He tightened it further after breaking North Carolina’s Jose Hernandez to pull within 5-4, with a chance to serve top set up the tie breaker and keep Texas alive. Corrie was able to hold off the first match point but was unable to keep Hernandez from breaking his serve on match point two to give the Tar Heels the clinching fourth point.

Texas jumped out to a two-point lead after senior Kellen Damico won in straight sets for the third-consecutive match. Damico continues to be productive filling in the No. 2 spot with junior Jean Andersen out. He was able to burn through his entire point in less than an hour. The other point came from doubles as Texas was able to take two out of three games to claim the first point of the match. Though the Longhorns’ doubles game remains strong, having claimed all but one point, Texas’ singles play has been a letdown on multiple occasions. With each match being close across the board, North Carolina was able to close out when it needed to, allowing only two points to go to a third set.

With the exception of Damico’s, all of the matches were drawn out as Texas continued to try to get back into every match. Leading 2-0, North Carolina was able to wrap up three points almost all at the same time with Texas sophomore Daniel Whitehead and red-shirt freshman David Holiner both falling in straight sets, followed by fellow sophomore Vasko Mladenov losing in a second-set tie-breaker. With the match already sealed for North Carolina, freshman Sudanwa Sitaram was unable to close out with a one-set lead and a second-set tie-break to lose in the third.

“That’s disappointing because this team of ours has a lot of great competitors,” Center said. “But, tonight, North Carolina just wanted it more.”

Men's Tennis

With a 4-3 win against No. 26 Florida State in Tallahassee, the Longhorns capped off a four-week stretch that featured three road matches against ranked opponents.

Texas’ doubles teams, led by Ed Corrie and Jean Andersen, have won all seven matches this season. The duos of Corrie and Andersen and Kellen Damico and David Holiner this time secured the doubles point for Texas. In singles, the Longhorns were able to keep the momentum going to solidify another win and remain undefeated this season.

“In singles, they jumped on us at Nos. 1 and 4. We ended up dropping those matches quickly and went down 2-1,” said head coach Michael Center.

Andersen used a straight set win to even up the match again, before sophomore Vasko Mladenov put Texas back on top.

“Jean Andersen did a good job and played very well, and Vasko got off his court to make it 3-2,” Center said.

Texas still needed to hold off Florida State and get one more win to take the match. That came from sophomore Daniel Whitehead with a three-set win to secure the victory for the team.

“Kellen Damico and Daniel Whitehead were out battling, and Daniel was able to get that last point we needed,” Center said.

With the win, Texas improves its record to 7-0 as it prepares for the ITA Indoor National Championships at the University of Washington this weekend. Before that, however, Texas will need to sharpen up its game in order to have the results they want.

“It was another hard-fought win for our guys,” Center said. “We’ve played in a lot of different environments and have been tested. We are happy to win, but we still have a lot of work to do.”