LUBBOCK -- The Texas A&M women’s tennis team closed out the regular season with a commanding 6-1 victory against Texas Tech today At the McLeod Tennis Center.
The Aggies (14-8, 9-2 Big 12) got the win after sweeping all six singles matches to close out the contest. But it was Texas Tech that took the early 1-0 lead as the Lady Raiders took advantage of the Aggies’ sluggish start in doubles and won two of the three matches. It was the first time A&M dropped the doubles point in Big 12 Conference play this season.
“I’m very happy the way we came out and competed at singles,” A&M coach Bobby Kleinecke said. “It took some guts to take care of the match the way it was. We were expecting to come out here and have a fight, but I just didn’t feel like we came in the doubles and gave ourselves a chance. We came in very flat, and I’m just very disappointed. That is the worst showing in doubles that we have had all year. That has to be an eye opener for us before we start the Big 12 tournament and the NCAAs.”
A&M’s Stephanie Davidson (Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas) and Morgan Frank (Oldsmar, Fla.) picked up the only doubles victory for the Aggies, defeating Kelsey Garland and Simon Templeton, 8-4, at the No. 3 line. With the win, the freshman duo completed a perfect 11-0 record in Big 12 matches.
Tech jumped out to early leads on the other two courts and held on to 8-6 victories at both the No. 1 and 2 lines to earn its only point of the day.
A&M got off to a much faster start in singles, handily winning the first set on five courts. Tech was held to three games or less on each of the five courts.
“That was key,” Kleinecke said about the Aggies’ turnaround in the singles. “When you lose the doubles point and then we win three 6-0 and 6-1 sets, that is what turned the match around. I am proud of the way the girls came out and made that adjustment.”
Davidson quickly tied the score as she finished off Leah Roberts, 6-0 6-2, at the No. 6 line. Frank followed with a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Kerryn Potgieter at No. 5 to give A&M the lead. It was Frank’s 11th win in the last 12 matches as she finished Big 12 play with a 10-1 record.
Anna Blagodarova (Toronto, Ontario) put A&M up, 3-1, defeating Garland, 6-1, 6-2, at the No. 3 line, and 93rd-ranked Elzé Potgieter clinched the winning point for the Aggies with a 6-3, 7-5 victory against Samantha van der Drift at the No. 1 spot.
A&M’s Christi Liles (Largo, Fla.) had won her first set, 6-0, against Janet Durham at the No. 2 spot, but both players held serve throughout the first 12 games of the second set to force a tiebreaker. Liles never trailed and held off Durham, 8-6, in the tiebreaker to win the match in straight sets and put the Aggies up, 5-1.
Tiffany Clifford (Little Rock, Ark.) was the only A&M player to lose a first set, falling to Templeton, 6-4, at the No. 4 line. Clifford, however, jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second set en route to a 6-4 win. With the overall team victor already determined, the two played a 10-point super tiebreaker. Clifford dropped the first point but won the next six and went on to win, 10-4, to complete the singles sweep for the Aggies.
Tech, which was celebrating “Senior Day”, falls to 11-10 overall and 4-6 in the Big 12 entering its final regular season match at No. 21 Texas on Sunday.
The Aggies will be the No. 3 seed at the Big 12 Championship, which begins on Thursday at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station. They have a first-round bye and will play an opponent to be determined Friday at 6 p.m.
“It’s nice to be at home, and we are looking forward to the opportunity,” Kleinecke said. “But we need to use this match as a wake-up call and get going, because we need to play a lot better than we did today. We can’t walk into any match and expect to win with just showing up, and that was a perfect example today.”
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No. 32 Texas A&M 6, No. 73 Texas Tech 1
1. (#93) Elzé Potgieter (A&M) def. Samantha van der Drift (TTU), 6-3, 7-5
2. Christi Liles (A&M) def. Janet Durham (TTU), 6-0, 7-6 (6)
3. Anna Blagodarova (A&M) def. Kelsey Garland (TTU), 6-1, 6-2
4. Tiffany Clifford (A&M) def. Simon Templeton (TTU), 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (4)
5. Morgan Frank (A&M) def. Kerryn Potgieter (TTU), 6-2, 6-2
6. Stephanie Davidson (A&M) def. Leah Roberts (TTU), 6-0, 6-3
Doubles (TTU wins the point)
1. Durham/van der Drift (TTU) def. (#59) Blagodarova/Clifford (A&M), 8-6
2. Brenna Jackson/Potgieter (TTU) def. Liles/Potgieter (A&M), 8-6
3. Davidson/Frank (A&M) def. Garland/Templeton (TTU), 8-4
Order of finish (D3, D1, D2, S6, S5, S3, S1*, S2, S4)
McLeod Tennis Center (Attendance: N/A)
Team records: Texas A&M (15-7, 9-2); Texas Tech (11-10, 4-6 Big 12)