NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- No. 17 Texas A&M rode a five-match win streak into the SEC Women’s Tennis Tournament, but 21st-ranked LSU snapped the streak and eliminated the Aggies with a 4-3 victory in second round action today at Vanderbilt’s Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Tennis Center.
The Tigers (14-9), who ended the regular season with three consecutive losses to drop into a tie with A&M for eighth place in the final SEC standings, won the last match standing to claim the victory and advance to face No. 1 seed and SEC regular season champion Vanderbilt in the quarterfinals on Friday at 3 p.m.
Texas A&M (16-12), which lost to LSU in the regular season and also suffered a 4-3 setback in the only other time the two teams met in the tournament in 2015, now must wait to hear its postseason fate when the 64-team NCAA Championship field is announced on Tuesday, May 2 at 4:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.
“This was a tough match that came down to the wire once again in both the singles and the doubles,” Texas A&M head coach Mark Weaver said. “We had our chances in the doubles and also in the singles but couldn't quite make it go out way. It was a match that had a bit of everything, that is for sure. The match started late with pretty hot conditions then cooled down and got windy, which seemed to help us make a momentum turn. Then the rain came and we moved indoors, and that even looked like it helped us a bit as we picked up three wins very quickly. All credit to LSU for hanging in there and coming up with some good tennis right at the end. We all need a good rest over the course of the next few days and then get back to work and take advantage of the three-week break to prepare us for a run at the NCAA tournament.”
The match would start outdoors, where LSU won the first two doubles matches to be completed to take a 1-0 lead. Saska Gavrilovska and Stefania Hristov had their five-match winning streak snapped with a 6-4 setback to Jessica Golovin and Skylar Holloway at the No. 3 line. LSU then clinched the point as 23rd-ranked Ryann Foster and Joana Valle Costa won four consecutive games, all on no-ad points, to defeat seventh-ranked Rutuja Bhosale and Rachel Pierson, 7-5, at No. 1. Court 2 between A&M’s Domenica Gonzalez and Eva Paalma and Jade Lewis and Becca Weissmann of LSU was on serve, 6-6, when the doubles point was clinched and the match was stopped.
Only four courts were available at the start of singles due to a marathon match still in progress between Auburn and Arkansas, which the Tigers eventually won, 4-3. Once all six matches were finally underway, A&M would go on to win the first set on Courts 4-6, while LSU won the first sets at Nos. 1-3. All matches were in at least the second set, and Pierson had forced a third set against 22nd-ranked Lewis at the No. 1 line when it began to rain, and the matches were moved indoors.
Once play resumed, Paalma needed only one game to finish off Holloway, 6-1, 7-5, at No. 6 to tie the score at 1-1 and extend her season-best win streak to five.
Gavrilovska then gave the Aggies the lead. The Serbian had pulled away for an 8-6 tiebreaker win in the first set against Weissmann and held a 4-1 second-set lead when play resumed indoors. Gavrilovska would go on to win the second set, 6-2, to put A&M up, 2-1.
LSU knotted the score at 2-2 as Lewis rebounded from a 7-5 second-set loss to Pierson to take the third set, 6-2, snapping Pierson’s seven-match win streak.
Macarena Olivares returned the lead to A&M, 3-2, as she never trailed in a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Weismann at No. 5, but Foster would tie the score once again as she pulled away for a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Gonzalez at Court 3.
The match came down to the No. 2 line, where 66th-ranked Valle Costa had won a 9-7 tiebreaker against 51st-ranked Bhosale in the first set, but Bhosale won four consecutive games after moving indoors to close out a 6-1 second-set win to earn a split. The final set was tied, 3-3, before Valle Costa reeled off three consecutive games to close out a 6-3 victory to clinch the victory and advance the Tigers to the next round.
The Aggies are expecting to make an 18th-consecutive and 23rd overall appearance in the NCAA tournament bracket is announced.
Visit 12thMan.com for more information on Texas A&M women's tennis. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M women's tennis team on Twitter by following @AggieWTEN or on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Aggie-Womens-Tennis/143874782434654
Tennis Match Results
Texas A&M vs LSU
Apr 20, 2017 at Nashville, Tenn.
(Currey Tennis Center)
#21 LSU 4, #17 Texas A&M 3
1. #22 Jade Lewis (LSU) def. #19 Rachel Pierson (A&M) 6-0, 5-7, 6-2
2. #66 Joana Valle Costa (LSU) def. #51 Rutuja Bhosale (A&M) 7-6, 1-6, 6-4
3. Ryann Foster (LSU) def. Domenica Gonzalez (A&M) 6-4, 6-4
4. Saska Gavrilovska (A&M) def. Jessica Golovin (LSU) 7-6, 6-2
5. Macarena Olivares (A&M) def. Becca Weissmann (LSU) 6-2, 6-3
6. Eva Paalma (A&M) def. Skylar Holloway (LSU) 6-1, 7-5
1. #23 Ryann Foster/Joana Valle Costa (LSU) def. #7 Rachel Pierson/Rutuja Bhosale (A&M) 7-5
2. Jade Lewis/Becca Weissmann (LSU) vs. Domenica Gonzalez/Eva Paalma (A&M) 6-6, unfinished
3. Jessica Golovin/Skylar Holloway (LSU) def. Stefania Hristov/Saska Gavrilovska (A&M) 6-4
Texas A&M 16-12; National ranking #17
LSU 14-9; National ranking #21
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (6,4,1,5,3,2)
SEC Tournament - Second Round
Seeds: LSU 8, Texas A&M 9