COLLEGE STATION -- The Texas A&M women’s tennis team begins a three-match homestand Saturday as the 27th-ranked Aggies take on the 24th-ranked Fighting Irish of Notre Dame at 1:30 p.m. at the Mitchell Tennis Center.
A&M is 8-4 overall after opening Big 12 Conference play with back-to-back wins at Oklahoma State and Oklahoma last weekend. Notre Dame, which boasts the No. 1-ranked doubles team in the nation, is 10-7 and riding a three-match winning streak after blanking Western Michigan, 7-0, on March 14.
A&M is led by sophomore Elzé Potgieter (Bloemfontein, South Africa), who is riding a five-match winning streak at the No. 1 singles line and jumped to a season-high No. 76 in the nation in the ITA rankings, released Tuesday. During her streak, Potgieter has knocked off two higher ranked opponents.
Freshman Christi Liles (Largo, Fla.) is the A&M leader in overall wins with a 20-5 record, including a 10-2 mark in dual matches only. Meanwhile, senior Anna Blagodarova, who opened conference play with back-to-back straight-set victories at the No. 2 line to surpass the 90-career win milestone, needs one more win to reach 92 career victories and move into a three-way tie for forth place in the A&M career records.
She and senior teammate Tiffany Clifford (Little Rock, Ark.) each have 86 career doubles victories and are tied for sixth in the Aggie records.
Notre Dame, which has won the doubles point in nine of the last 10 matches, is led by Brook Buck and Kelcy Tefft, who are the top rated doubles team in the country. Last year, the then 15th-ranked pair fell to A&M’s Anna Lubinsky and Nicki Mechem, but No. 2 Notre Dame still managed a 5-2 victory over the visiting Aggies.
The doubles team of Cosmina Ciobanu and Colleen Rielley is ranked No. 50. Notre Dame also has three players in the national singles rankings: No. 38 Tefft, No. 105 Ciobanu and No. 114 Kali Krisik.
The Fighting Irish are 4-1 all-time against A&M and have won the last four meetings.
The match is the final non-conference match of the regular season for the Aggies, who return to Big 12 action next week. A&M plays host to Nebraska on Friday, March 28 at 5 p.m. It will be “Dollar Day” at the Mitchell Tennis Center, as popcorn and drinks will be sold for only $1 each.
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