Today In SEC Tennis: February 16 > SEC > NEWS
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    Today In SEC Tennis: February 16

    Georgia Falls 4-1 To Third-Ranked UCLA
     
    SEATTLE --- The No. 6 Georgia men’s tennis team suffered a 4-1 loss to third-ranked UCLA Saturday in the quarterfinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships at the Nordstrom Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Washington. The match was closer than the final score would indicate as the Bulldogs won the doubles point and were in a third set on two courts when the match was decided via a tiebreaker.

    “It was a tough match today,” said head coach Manuel Diaz. “Our guys played great doubles. UCLA was just too strong in singles and that was the difference. They earned that win by sheer physicality. They’re a very deep and strong team and today was their day.”

    With today’s loss Georgia falls to 5-2 on the season, while UCLA improves to an undefeated 9-0. The Bulldogs are now 1-1 at the tournament and will play their final match of the weekend tomorrow in the quarterfinal consolation round at 11 a.m. ET. They will meet the loser of today’s USC-Kentucky quarterfinal match.

    Georgia was without No. 4 singles and No. 3 doubles player Nick Wood, who was fighting an illness after clinching yesterday’s round of 16 match vs. Ole Miss.

    The Bulldogs stormed out to big leads on all three doubles courts to start the day, and got their first win at No. 3 as Eric Diaz and Marco Nunez teamed up for an 8-3 win over Alex Brigham and Dennis Mkrtchian. Georgia then clinched the point to take a 1-0 lead in the match as Nathan Pasha and Garrett Brasseaux downed Adrien Puget and Karue Sell 8-5 at No. 2. The No. 1 match was suspended 5-5.

    UCLA came out strong in singles, winning four of the six first sets while the Bulldogs took the other two. The Bruins tacked on their first point, making the team match 1-1, with a 6-2, 6-1 win for Sell over Diaz at No. 6. UCLA then took a 2-1 lead as Clay Thompson posted a 6-2, 6-3 win over Brasseaux at No. 5, and it moved to 3-1 as 58th-ranked Novikov defeated No. 21 Pasha in three sets, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 at the No. 1 position.

    That left three courts on, and Georgia had won the first on two of them – Wagland at No. 2 and Smith at No. 4, both now in the third. On the final court was Pieters at No. 3, who forced a second-set tiebreaker against Puget after dropping the first, but Puget pulled it out 7-3 to clinch for the Bruins and make it 4-1.

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    No. 12 Ole Miss Top No. 14 Tennessee 4-1
     
    SEATTLE -- In another classic battle between two of the SEC’s best, the No. 12 ranked Ole Miss men’s tennis team defeated No. 14 ranked Tennessee in consolation play at the ITA National Team Indoor here Saturday at the Seattle Tennis Club.
        
    The Rebels won the doubles point and secured straight-set wins at Nos. 5 and 1 singles before senior Adrian Forberg Skogeng clinched a three-setter at No. 6 singles to end the matter.  With the win, the Rebels improved to 4-2 and will face either Mississippi State or Texas A&M Sunday at 1 p.m. CT in their final match of the tournament.  This will mark the Rebels’ third straight SEC opponent after dropping their opening match to No. 6 Georgia.
        
    “This was a big win for the team,” head coach Billy Chadwick said.  “It was another tight match, but we are proud of the guys for pushing through and getting the victory.  We really needed this one, and we’re going to look back later, and say this was a great match to get.”
        
    After Tennessee won 8-4 at No. 2 doubles, Johan Backstrom and Stefan Lindmark answered with an 8-4 win at No. 3 against Hunter Reese and Brandon Fickey.  The top spot featured 16th-ranked Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen against the 26th-ranked Vol duo of Mikelis Libietis and Jarryd Chaplin.  The All-American Rebel tandem gained a break at 5-5 and leading 7-6, Scholtz served out the 8-6 win to clinch the point.
        
    Each team won three first sets in singles.  Lindmark, the lone freshman in the lineup for the Rebels, rebounded from a tough first match against Georgia to post a 6-1, 7-5 win against Tennessee senior John Collins at No. 5 singles, to put the Rebels ahead 2-0.   With the win, Lindmark improved to 3-1 at No. 5 singles.
        
    In a matchup between two of the SECs top No. 1 players, 24th-ranked Scholtz bested 11th-ranked Libietis 7-5, 6-3 to push the lead to 3-0.  Scholtz moved to 12-3 overall and 4-1 at No. 1. He also improved to 2-1 against Libietis.
        
    Tennessee avoided the shutout and kept their hopes alive when 87th-ranked Brandon Fickey finished off a 7-5, 6-3 win over Johan Backstrom at No. 5 singles.
        
    Forberg Skogeng had to rally to do it, but he took out Vol Ed Jones 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 to clinch the match. 

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    South Carolina Holds on for 4-2 Win at VCU

    RICHMOND, Va. (Feb. 16, 2013) — The No. 30 South Carolina women’s tennis team held on for a 4-2 victory at No. 49 VCU on Saturday at Thalhimer Tennis Center in Richmond, Va., to improve to 4-2 on the year while the Rams fell to 7-3 with the loss.

    The Gamecocks continued their strong doubles play this season by winning the top two spots for a 1-0 lead heading to singles play. Carolina’s 57th-ranked duo of Jaklin Alawi and Dominika Kanakova improved to 5-1 this spring with an 8-4 triumph over Josefin Hjertquist and Cindy Chala on court one. At the second spot, Josefin Andersson and Katerina Popova upped their dual record to 5-1 as well with an 8-4 win against Daria Yakauleva and Olga Barscheuskaya.

    VCU did manage to grab match in the doubles by winning the third court. Salome Kvitashvili and Olga Terteac topped Adriana Pereira and Ximena Siles Luna by an 8-5 score at the position. Siles Luna, though, would respond in singles with the biggest victory of her young career as a Gamecock.

    With the Gamecocks ahead 3-2 and only two matches left in singles, the Rams were poised to take the No. 6 singles match, meaning it would all come down to the No. 4 singles contest between Siles Luna and Terteac. Terteac claimed the first set 6-4, but Siles Luna fought back to take the second in a tiebreaker 7-2. The two traded games back and forth in the third and trailing 4-3, Siles Luna strung together three games in a row to give the Gamecocks’ their fourth straight victory against the Rams in a hotly contested series the past five years.

    Saturday marked the fourth time the two schools have played since 2008. The prior three meetings all ended in 4-3 wins for the Gamecocks. South Carolina and VCU last played in Columbia, S.C., in 2011 in a match where South Carolina lost the doubles point but broke a 3-all tie thanks to a three set win from Dijana Stojic at No. 2 singles.

    Popova and Kanakova gave South Carolina its second and third points of the match to set up the exciting finish with Siles Luna. No. 114 Popova cruised to a 6-0, 6-4 win over Kvitashvili at No. 2 singles to improve to 4-1 this spring. Kanakova snapped a three-match losing skid at No. 3 singles by taking care of Hjertquist 6-4, 6-3.

    VCU scored its first point of the match at the top of the lineup with Chala downing No. 59 Alawi 6-3, 6-4. Barscheuskaya cut the Gamecocks’ 3-1 lead to just one point when she defeated Pereira 7-5, 6-1. At No. 6 singles, Yukako Noi led Andersson 7-6 (7-2), 5-1 when Siles Luna beat Terteac to clinch the match and play was subsequently stopped.

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    Dores take down Baylor

    WACO, Texas – No. 17 Vanderbilt put an end to its three-match losing streak with an impressive road win at No. 18 Baylor, 4-2, Saturday afternoon at the Hurd Tennis Center.

    The Commodores (5-3) have road wins at Georgia Tech and Baylor this season, while Baylor (3-5) has now lost its last five matches.

    Vanderbilt started the match by winning two of the three doubles matches to take a 1-0 lead into singles. The Commodores recorded wins in the top two spots in the lineup with Courtney Colton and Lauren Mira in the No. 1 position and Ashleigh Antal and Marie Casares in the No. 2.

    Colton and Mira defeated Ema Burgic and Kiah Generette, 8-6, while Antal and Casares knocked off Alex Leatu and Maria Biryukova, 8-1.

    Antal then made quick work of Leatu in No. 6 singles by winning in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0. Georgina Sellyn ran her overall record to 11-3 with a win in the No. 4 position. The freshman defeated Victoria Kisialeva 6-0, 6-1.

    Mira’s win in No. 2 singles clinched the victory for the Commodores. The Baton Rouge, La., native defeated No. 86 Megan Horter, 6-1, 7-5. Mira is now 11-6 in dual action this season.

    Casares tacked on the final point with her victory over Jordaan Sanford, who retired during the second set (6-2, 5-6).

    Baylor was able to register wins at the No. 1 and No. 5 positions. No. 13 Ema Burgic took down (Courtney) Colton, 7-6, 6-3, while (Kiah) Generette defeated Frances Altick, 6-4, 6-0.

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    No. 2 Southern Cal Hangs on to Edge No. 7 Kentucky
     
    SEATTLE, Wash. – After advancing to the quarterfinals of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s National Indoor Championships on Friday with a 4-0 win over No. 10 Mississippi State, the No. 7 University of Kentucky men’s tennis team fell 4-1 to No. 2 Southern California on Saturday afternoon at the Nordstrom Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle.  
     
    “Obviously, we are not happy with the outcome of this match,” UK head coach Cedric Kauffmann said. “You have to give a lot of credit to Southern Cal, I thought they played really well. They took the doubles point from us, and so we knew we would have to do a good job of getting the momentum back on all six courts very quickly, and we didn’t do that. We gave up too many quick sets, which made it tough on us coming from behind. Having said that, we are a lot closer to being the team we know we can be and we still have a lot of work ahead of us when we return home.”
     
    In the doubles point, USC (11-0) collected wins on courts one and two to clinch the point, as the third match was on serve when the point was clinched. On court No. 2, Alejandro Gomez and Ryuji Hirooka dug themselves a deep 5-0 hole and were unable to climb out of it during the match. Hirooka and Gomez fought back to get the match, but the Wildcats were unable to overcome the deficit.
     
    On court one, the first seven games of the match saw the teams exchanging games on serve before the Trojans were able to get the break and hand on to win the match at 8-5.
     
    Kentucky (9-2) dropped the doubles point for just the second time all season in 11 matches this season.
     
    No. 90 Anthony Rossi got one of the best wins of his career on Saturday afternoon, locking up Kentucky’s point in the match at 6-4, 6-3 over No. 12 Raymond Sarmiento of USC. Rossi and Sarmiento traded early holds in the match before Rossi drew first blood in the set and broke at 3-3 to go up 4-3 before he was broken back at 4-3 to even the match back at 4-4. Rossi then responded with a quick break back for the third consecutive game to make it 5-4 and Rossi served out the set with a pair of long rallies to take the 6-4 win in the opening set.
     
    In the second set, Rossi got an opening break of serve to go up 1-0 before he was broken back at 1-1 to give USC the temporary 2-1 lead. Rossi would break back later in the match and Rossi went up 5-4 and would have the opportunity to serve for the match at 5-4. Rossi fought off three break points in the final game and Sarmiento saved three of Rossi’s match points before Rossi took the final point with a forehand down the line to clinch the 6-4 set win and match at 6-3, 6-4.
     
    On court two Tom Jomby and No. 10 Emilo Gomez played a first set that saw all 12 games hold to serve as the two fought back and forth. Gomez got up 4-2 early in the tiebreak before Jomby double faulted to give Gomez the tiebreak and take the set 7-6 over Jomby. In the second set, the match was again on serve before USC clinched the overall match, and it was abandoned at 3-2 in the second set.
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    No. 10 Bulldogs Dominate No. 15 Texas A&M At ITA Indoors, 4-0
     
    SEATTLE, Wash. – In dominating fashion, the No. 10 Mississippi State men’s tennis squad (8-1) defeated the No. 15 Texas A&M Aggies (6-2) 4-0 in the consolation round of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. The all-time series between the two teams is now tied at 2-2, with this being the first time the two have met at a neutral site.
     
    In another consolation match Sunday at the National Indoors, State now gets a rematch with No. 12 Ole Miss. The Bulldogs ousted the Rebels 4-2 just nine days ago to retain the River Hills Club, winning their fourth straight over their in-state rivals. Sunday's match is set to begin at 1 p.m. CT at the Seattle Tennis Club.
     
    The action kicked off with a battle for the doubles point, which would be decided on courts one and two. At the top spot, the No. 13 MSU duo of Jordan Angus and Malte Stropp took down the No. 40 A&M tandem of Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow 8-6. MSU clinched the doubles point when the freshmen team of Romain Bogaerts and Pedro Dumont defeated TAMU’s Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo 8-4 on court three.
     
    Play on court two was suspended after the point was clinched, with MSU’s Zach White and Ethan Wilkinson tied with the Aggies’ No. 7 Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant at 6-6.
     
    State jumped out quick in singles play, grabbing the opening set on four of six courts. The Bulldogs took their first match in convincing style on court four, as Angus earned his first ranked victory of the spring, defeating No. 67 Vinsant 6-1, 6-1. With the win, Angus remained perfect at 8-0 on the season.
     
    Meanwhile, on court one, State's 19th-ranked Bogaerts grinded out a tough first set and cruised in the second, defeating Ore 7-6(3), 6-3 to put MSU up 3-0. That was a key momentum swing the match, as all other matches would go to third sets.
     
    But the Bulldogs would get the clinching point they needed on court two, where No. 43 Stropp battled back after dropping his first set 6-3 by taking the second 7-6(4) to force a deciding third against A&M's 124th-ranked Adams. From there, the MSU junior would cruise to a 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 victory, clinching the 4-0 win against the No. 15 Aggies.
     
    After Stropp’s team match-clinching win, play on all courts was suspended. MSU senior James Chaudry was down 6-2, 4-6, 5-3 on court three against TAMU’s Efferding. State freshman Stefan Vinti was down 2-6, 7-6(4), 3-2 against A&M’s No. 100 Withrow. And State’s White was tied at 6-3, 2-6, 5-5 against the Aggies’ Behzad Minavi when the match went final.
     
    “That was a great match from our guys,” head coach Per Nilsson said. “Bouncing back like that from our performance yesterday speaks volume about our team. Mentally, they were sharp and everyone played to win.”
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    No. 2 Southern Cal Hangs on to Edge No. 7 Kentucky
     
    SEATTLE, Wash. – After advancing to the quarterfinals of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s National Indoor Championships on Friday with a 4-0 win over No. 10 Mississippi State, the No. 7 University of Kentucky men’s tennis team fell 4-1 to No. 2 Southern California on Saturday afternoon at the Nordstrom Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle.  
     
    “Obviously, we are not happy with the outcome of this match,” UK head coach Cedric Kauffmann said. “You have to give a lot of credit to Southern Cal, I thought they played really well. They took the doubles point from us, and so we knew we would have to do a good job of getting the momentum back on all six courts very quickly, and we didn’t do that. We gave up too many quick sets, which made it tough on us coming from behind. Having said that, we are a lot closer to being the team we know we can be and we still have a lot of work ahead of us when we return home.”
     
    In the doubles point, USC (11-0) collected wins on courts one and two to clinch the point, as the third match was on serve when the point was clinched. On court No. 2, Alejandro Gomez and Ryuji Hirooka dug themselves a deep 5-0 hole and were unable to climb out of it during the match. Hirooka and Gomez fought back to get the match, but the Wildcats were unable to overcome the deficit.
     
    On court one, the first seven games of the match saw the teams exchanging games on serve before the Trojans were able to get the break and hand on to win the match at 8-5.
     
    Kentucky (9-2) dropped the doubles point for just the second time all season in 11 matches this season.
     
    No. 90 Anthony Rossi got one of the best wins of his career on Saturday afternoon, locking up Kentucky’s point in the match at 6-4, 6-3 over No. 12 Raymond Sarmiento of USC. Rossi and Sarmiento traded early holds in the match before Rossi drew first blood in the set and broke at 3-3 to go up 4-3 before he was broken back at 4-3 to even the match back at 4-4. Rossi then responded with a quick break back for the third consecutive game to make it 5-4 and Rossi served out the set with a pair of long rallies to take the 6-4 win in the opening set.
     
    In the second set, Rossi got an opening break of serve to go up 1-0 before he was broken back at 1-1 to give USC the temporary 2-1 lead. Rossi would break back later in the match and Rossi went up 5-4 and would have the opportunity to serve for the match at 5-4. Rossi fought off three break points in the final game and Sarmiento saved three of Rossi’s match points before Rossi took the final point with a forehand down the line to clinch the 6-4 set win and match at 6-3, 6-4.
     
    On court two Tom Jomby and No. 10 Emilo Gomez played a first set that saw all 12 games hold to serve as the two fought back and forth. Gomez got up 4-2 early in the tiebreak before Jomby double faulted to give Gomez the tiebreak and take the set 7-6 over Jomby. In the second set, the match was again on serve before USC clinched the overall match, and it was abandoned at 3-2 in the second set.

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    LADY TIGERS TAKE A 6-1 VICTORY OVER MCNEESE STATE UNIVERSITY
     
    BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU women’s tennis team (5-2) swept McNeese State University (5-3) in doubles before going on to win the match 6-1 Saturday at “Dub” Robinson Stadium.
     
    The doubles pair of Kaitlin Burns and Ella Taylor made its second appearance and finished first with an 8-6 victory over McNeese’s Diana Pirciu and Annabelle Peacock, making the doubles partners 2-0 this season. The duo debuted during the Lady Tigers’ last outing against UC Irvine.
     
    Keri Frankenberger and Ebie Wilson easily clinched the doubles point for LSU with an 8-2 triumph over McNeese’s Klaudia Gawlik and Andreea Nenu. The Ariel Morton and Mary Jeremiah pair followed with an 8-4 victory against the Cowgirls’ Lara Pujol and Anastasia Surkova in the No. 1 position, marking the doubles team’s sixth consecutive win and fifth straight in the top spot.
     
    Senior Wilson notched her third double-bagel victory this season with a court six win over McNeese’s Peacock, and junior Morton quickly followed with a 6-1, 6-0 victory against the Cowgirls’ Nenu on court four.
     
    Senior Burns clinched her fourth match this season, capturing a 6-2, 6-0 win on court two over McNeese’s Pujol.
     
    Both freshmen added points to the board, as Caroline Hudson scored a 6-3, 6-2 victory against the Cowgirls’ Pirciu on court five, and Taylor took a 6-1, 6-1 win on court three over McNeese’s Surkova.
     
    Court one featured the only match taken into the third set, and sophomore Jeremiah battled through a nail-biting super tiebreaker, but ultimately fell to McNeese’s Gawlik 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (10-6).
     
    “Our singles today was the best job we have done all year as far as our focus and intensity,” head coach Julia S. Sell said. “We worked on our accountability all week in practice, and it really showed today. I’m excited by today’s effort and look forward to building on our progress.”

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    No 11 Texas A&M Gets 4-3 Road Win at No. 13 Michigan

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Texas A&M freshman Stefania Hristov overcame 4-2 third-set deficit to win her singles match at the No. 6 line and clinch the 11th-ranked Aggies’ hard-fought 4-3 victory against No. 13 Michigan today at the Varsity Tennis Center indoor courts.

    A&M improves to 5-1 after recording its third consecutive win against a top-15 opponent. The Wolverines, who knocked the Aggies out of the NCAA tournament last year with a 4-3 second-round victory in Ann Arbor, fall to 5-3.

    “Just the view through the lenses of getting a win against a very, very good team on the road and with them being an indoor team, this was obviously a big achievement and exciting for us,” A&M coach Howard Joffe said. “I certainly think that the win was a team win in the sense that everyone chipped in to get us to four points, which proved to be a battle.

    “Through broader lenses, what the competition over the past week or two has done, it has exposed the areas where we need to improve and the areas where we are reasonably strong. I’m very, very excited and encouraged at how good this team has the potential to play when everyone is firing on all cylinders. But for today in Ann Arbor, Mich., I’m really proud of the girls to have gotten the win today.”

    Michigan took the early lead in doubles as the sixth-ranked duo of Emina Bektas and Brooke Bolender pulled away for an 8-4 victory over 11th-ranked Hristov and Cristina Stancu at the top of the lineup.

    A&M, however, got wins on the other two courts to take a 1-0 lead. A&M’s Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Wen Sun went up a break to take a 6-4 lead against 34th-ranked Sarah Lee and Ronit Yurovsky at the No. 2 court. The Michigan duo got back on serve to get within 6-5, but A&M broke back to take a 7-5 lead. The Aggies then held serve to close out the 8-5 victory.

    The crucial doubles point came down to the No. 3 court, where Aggie freshmen twins Ines and Paula Deheza were making a comeback after falling behind, 5-2, against Kristen Dodge and Mimi Nguyen. The A&M tandem reeled off three straight games to get back on serve at 5-5, and after the two teams had held serve over the next four games, the Deheza sisters got a break to take their first lead of the match, 8-7. A&M then held serve to win the next game and clinch the 9-7 victory that gave the Aggies a 1-0 lead.

    “At No. 1 doubles, it was always going to be a struggle to win that match,” Joffe said. “Stefania and Tina competed really hard, but indoors it was always going to be a monumental task. One of the things that probably was a very good sign for us going forward is that Sun and Cristina played in such a way today that they approximated the level of tennis they were playing last year, so that was a very, very good win. At No. 3 doubles, we started off with the twins playing quite poorly, and I have to give them credit because they were able to pull their emotional selves together and fight and give themselves the opportunity and then stole the win in the end.”

    Although A&M started out singles play by winning the first set on four courts, the Wolverines proved they were not going down without a fight. Sanchez-Quintanar, ranked No. 5 in the nation in singles, finished off a 6-3, 6-3 straight-set victory over 48th-ranked Bektas at the No. 1 line to give the Aggies a 2-0 lead, but Lee immediately followed with a 6-1, 6-1 win over A&M’s Nazari Urbina at the No. 3 position to put Michigan within 2-1.

    Sun held onto a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Bolender at No. 4 singles, overcoming a 3-0 deficit in  the second set en route to the straight-set win that put the Aggies ahead, 3-1, but the remaining three matches would be nail-biters that were decided in three sets.

    “This is the area where I would give the coaches and the players at Michigan a ton of credit,” Joffe said. “Them losing the doubles point would go down as being quite painful. Then they lost four of the first six singles sets, and yet they competed tooth and nail on every court. We were fortunate to get over the finish line and get to four points.”

    Yurovsky, ranked 32nd in singles had dropped her first set to 73rd-ranked Stancu at No. 2, but she came on strong to take the next two sets, 6-2, 6-0 to put the Wolverines within 3-2.

    Following Yurovsky’s win, Michigan appeared to have all the momentum with only two matches remaining. At the same time Hristov was falling behind in her third set, Amy Zhu had won the first set, 6-3, and held a 5-3 second-set lead over Ines Deheza at No. 5. Deheza then began to rally and  won the next four games to win the second set, 7-5, and force a third set.

    “I was very, very proud of Ines Deheza,” Joffe said. “She was down a set and 5-3. If she loses that match at that stage, it puts all the pressure on Stefania, who was struggling. She was able to fight back and level the match. She eventually lost the match but it took some pressure off Stefania being able to close it out.”

    With Deheza rallying – she went on to take a 2-0 lead in the final set -- Hristov also made her crucial comeback.  The Romanian, who had split the first two sets against Nguyen, 6-2, 4-6, tied the third set at 4-4 and 5-5 before taking her first lead of the final set at 6-5. Hristov then broke Nguyen with Nguyen hitting into the net on the final play that sealed the victory for the Aggies.

    “Stefania’s match was definitely an awkward match, a different style of game,” Joffe said. “I don’t think Stefania, even when she was up by a lot in the first set, ever felt comfortable out on the court. It was just very awkward, the dynamics of the match, and very unsettling for Stefania. But I have to give her all the credit because she was down 4-2 in the final set and had the team riding on her shoulders and all she did was fight and fight and fight. At 5-4 down all she did was fight and battle and got the win for us.”

    With the team match already determined, Zhu closed out a 6-3 victory over Deheza for the final 4-3 score.

    “This was a huge relief through the lenses of getting the win today,” Joffe added. “Our team needs to get better. Inexperienced players need to get more comfortable. If we want to go further this season, we need to play better tennis.

    “The matches inherently are very difficult. The opposition is all very good. It really sort of comes down to being tough and being prepared to fight and being prepared to give up yourself for the team and for Texas A&M. In that respect, these wins are definitely either building or revealing some character.”

    After being on the road for their last four matches, the Aggies look forward to returning home, where the team will have a week of practice before playing host to  Sam Houston State on Monday, Feb. 25. First serve of the recently added match is set for 3 p.m. at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.

    “From a coach’s point of view, it is going to be great to get back to the friendly confines of College Station,” Joffe said. “Also it will be good for us to get outdoors, which is what we are more accustomed to, get our kids back to their classes and get comfortable with the schooling and the practices and hopefully find a little bit of rhythm, because it has been a very demanding schedule the last two weeks.”

    The contest against the Bearkats marks the start of an exciting four-match home stand over a seven-day span for A&M. The Aggies host former Big 12 Conference foe and 18th-ranked Baylor on Wednesday, Feb. 27 and then begin their inaugural Southeastern Conference season Friday, March 1 against South Carolina. A&M concludes its longest home stand of the season Sunday, March 3 against defending national champion and SEC preseason favorite Florida.

    “We definitely have our work cut out for us,” Joffe said. “Certainly in the better conferences in the country, which obviously the SEC is amongst them, there is nowhere to hide. And as we move into conference play, we are going to need to be ready to go. So the good news is we have a week of preparation outdoors, and hopefully by the time the SEC matches come, we are firing on all cylinders.”

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    Lady Bulldog Tennis Falls To No. 36 Cowgirls
     
    STARKVILLE, Miss. – In its first loss of the season, Mississippi State’s Lady Bulldog tennis squad fell 6-0 to the No. 36 ranked Cowgirls of Oklahoma State Saturday. The match was played indoors at McCarthy Gymnasium due to extremely cold temperatures.
     
    Singles was played first in the match at the two-court facility at McCarthy.
    Georgiana Patrasc and Alexandra Perper kicked off singles play for the Lady Bulldogs, both putting up sterling performances against ranked opponents before finally falling. Patrasc lost 7-6(4), 6-4 at the No. 2 position after a close first-set tiebreaker against No. 125 ranked Meghan Blevins of Oklahoma State. Perper dropped her first set to the Cowgirls' No. 75 ranked Malika Rose on court 1 before rallying to take the second set 6-2. Rose then answered with a 6-2 third set, raising the Cowgirls’ overall lead to 2-0.
     
    Oklahoma State continued their winning streak at No. 3 as MSU sophomore Naomi Tran fell there in a 6-2, 6-3 decision against opposing senior, C.C. Sardinha of OSU. Petra Ferancova battled for the Lady Bulldogs on court 4, earning a break advantage in the first set, but was ultimately downed by Maria Alvarez for OSU 7-5, 6-2, clinching the team win for the Cowgirls.
     
    Since the match had been decided, the format for the matches on courts 5 and 6 was changed to one pro set on each court. OSU junior Kanyapat Narattana defeated Lady Bulldog freshman Lien Van Geel 8-3 at the No. 5 position. Sarai Flores completed play for the Lady Bulldogs on court 6, falling 8-0 to Lorena Gheorghe of Oklahoma State, sealing the 6-0 Cowgirl victory.
     
    Doubles play was not contested.
     
    "I think Oklahoma State was clearly the better team tonight," said head coach Daryl Greenan. “We battled pretty close at a couple of different positions. I think the effort is there for us, but there are a few basic areas that we need to improve on. Hopefully we can learn from this match and take the experience into next weekend.”

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    No. 13 California Defeats No. 11 Florida Men’s Tennis, 4-1

    Seattle, Wash.—The No. 11 Florida men’s tennis team fell to No. 13 California, 4-1, on Saturday in a consolation match at the 2013 ITA Division I National Men's Team Indoor Championship in Seattle, Wash. UF will face either No. 8 Oklahoma or No. 24 Washington on Sunday in its final match of the event.

    The Gators fell behind early after dropping the doubles point to the Bears. Cal’s Mads Engsted and Ben McLachlan beat UF’s Michael Alford and Florent Diep, 8-3, at the No. 2 position to get things started. The point was clinched on court one, when the Bears’ pair of Chris Konigsfeldt and Campbell Johnson took down Florida’s duo of Billy Federhofer and Gordon Watson, 8-6.

    In singles, the Bears got another point as Johnson dealt Piro his first loss of the spring, winning 6-2, 6-0 at the No. 3 position. Florida got a point from Federhofer on court six, defeating Nikhil Jayashankar, 6-3, 7-6.

    The remaining four courts split the first two sets, as the Gators tried to extend the match. After Diep dropped the first set, 1-6, against Konigsfeldt on court two, he fought back to win the second set, 6-4, and force a deciding third set. Diep couldn’t complete the comeback effort, losing 6-1, 4-6, 6-2, and Cal took a 3-1 lead in the match.

    With Florida needing points from the final three matches, the pressure was on Alford, van Overbeek and Watson, who each won their first sets. On court one, Cal’s McLachlan stormed back to spilt sets with van Overbeek, while Alford dropped the second set to Engsted on court five. Watson got to a tiebreak in the second set, but couldn’t pull it out and went to a third set against Bayane at No. 4 singles.