Kleinecke's Crew Clobbers OU

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas- The 26th-ranked Texas A&M women’s tennis team remained undefeated both in Big 12 Conference matches and in home matches by defeating Oklahoma, 6-1, today at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.

The Aggies improve to 14-3 overall, 10-0 in home matches and 5-0 in conference to remain a half game ahead of Texas (7-6, 4-0 Big 12) in the league standings.

OU drops to 5-8, 2-2 in the Big 12.

"I felt really good about the match today,” A&M coach Bobby Kleinecke said. “We had a hard-fought match the other night against Colorado and have to come back two days later to play OU. OU always plays us strong. I have a lot of respect for that program.”

A&M also improved to 14-0 when capturing the doubles point as the Aggies won on all three courts against the Sooners. The 42nd-ranked duo of Tiffany Clifford and Sarah Foster quickly disposed of OU’s Gabby Baker and Irina Lykina, 8-2, at the No. 1 line. Anna Blagodarova and Michelle Sammons followed with an 8-4 victory over Rachael Cox and Chelsea Orr at No. 3 to seal the point for the Aggies.

No. 32 Anna Lubinsky and Nicki Mechem then completed the doubles sweep, overcoming a 6-4 deficit to defeat Christie Baxley and Monica Purice, 8-6 at No. 2.

“For us to come away with all three doubles matches and handle it the way we did, I thought was a very good start to the match,” Kleinecke said. “Tiffany Clifford had been sick and she played one of the best matches she has played all year. I was very proud of her to come out here and fight hard.”

Foster gave the Aggies a 2-0 advantage and ran her team-leading singles record to 14-3 after downing Baxley, 6-1, 6-1, at the No. 2 line. Marisa Druss, competing for the first time since Feb. 16, followed with a 6-3, 6-2 victory against Elena Antakova at the No. 6 line to put A&M ahead, 3-0.

“I’m glad that Marisa got a chance to get in there,” Kleinecke said. “She had been playing really well this year and had not gotten to play the number of singles matches that she’s wanted or we have wanted. So I was really happy she got a chance to get in there and compete.”

Mechem secured the winning point after defeating Anne Carter, 6-3, 6-3, at No. 5.

Lubinsky, ranked No. 24 nationally in singles, won her ninth consecutive match with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Purice at No. 1. No. 83 Elze Potgieter put the Aggies ahead, 6-0, with a 7-6 (4), 6-2 win against Orr at No. 4.

Lykina prevented the shutout, earning OU’s only point in the last match standing. The Sooner won the first set against Blagodarova, 6-4, at the No. 3 line, but Blagodarova evened the match by taking the second set, 6-3. Since A&M had already clinched the team victory, the two played a 10-poinit super tiebreaker. There were five ties in the tiebreaker, the last coming at 10-all before Lykina scored the final two points to get the win.

“In the singles, OU had made a lineup switch which kind of plays with your mind a little bit,” Kleinecke said. “I thought we did a good job of adjusting. We had some close sets, and I think a lot of that was that the players were prepared to play one game plan and then had to switch at the last minute. I was happy and pleased with them making the adjustments, but it was an adjustment we had to make.”

The Aggies have a week off before continuing their six-match homestand by hosting Rice Saturday, March 31. First sere is at 1:30 p.m. at the Mitchell Tennis Center.

No. 26 Texas A&M 6, Oklahoma 1

Singles

1. (#24) Anna Lubinsky (A&M) def. Monica Purice (OU), 6-4, 6-2

2. Sarah Foster (A&M) def. Christie Baxley (OU), 6-1, 6-1

3. Irina Lykina (OU) def. Anna Blagodarova (A&M), 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (10)

4. (#83) Elze Potgieter (A&M) def. Chelsea Orr (OU), 7-6 (4), 6-2

5. Nicki Mechem (A&M) def. Anne Carter (OU), 6-3, 6-3

6. Marisa Druss (A&M) def. Elena Antakova (OU), 6-3, 6-2

Doubles (A&M wins the point)

1. (#42) Tiffany Clifford/Foster (A&M) def. Gabby Baker/Lykina (OU), 8-2

2. (#32) Lubinsky/Mechem (A&M) def. Baxley/Purice (OU), 8-6

3. Blagodarova/Michelle Sammons (A&M) def. Rachael Cox/Orr (OU), 8-4

Order of finish (D1, D3, D2, S2, S6, S5*, S1, S4, S3)

*Clinched match

George P. Mitchell Tennis Center (Attendance: 354)

Team records: Texas A&M (14-3, 5-0 Big 12); Oklahoma (5-8, 2-2 Big 12)