COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The 10th-ranked Texas A&M women’s tennis team hosts No. 15 Baylor in a top-15 intrastate showdown Thursday at 4 p.m. at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
The first 200 fans will receive a free 12th Man towel.
The Aggies are 5-2 entering what is their final tune-up before opening Southeastern Conference play at No. 5 Florida next week in Gainesville. A&M sports a 2-2 record against top-20 teams this season, including a 4-3 victory at No. 3 North Carolina on Feb. 4, marking the highest ranked victory in program history.
In its most recent outing, A&M blanked Sam Houston State, Sunday in College Station to improve to 3-0 in home matches. The win against the Bearkats marked head coach Howard Joffe’s 50th victory in his third season at A&M and the 98th victory in the seventh season of his head coaching career.
Baylor is 8-2 overall, including 4-2 against ranked teams following an impressive 5-2 home victory Sunday over eighth-ranked Northwestern, a team that topped the Aggies earlier this month at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. The win snapped Baylor’s streak of nine consecutive losses against top-10 opponents. The match was the Bears’ ninth straight home match, and their contest against the Aggies is only their second road match of the season, having opened the spring schedule at Hawaii on Jan. 11.
A&M has won the last three meetings against the Bears to improve to 23-20 in the all-time series, including 12-8 in matches played in College Station. Last year in their first season as a member of the SEC, the Aggies swept the home-and-home series against the former Big 12 Conference foe, defeating the Bears 4-0 at the Mitchell Tennis Center and 4-2 at Baylor’s new Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center in Waco.
A&M boasts three singles players and two doubles teams in the ITA national rankings. Senior Cristina Stancu is No. 19 in singles and leads the Aggies with a 19-7 overall record, including 12-4 against ranked opponents. Rookie Saska Gavrilovska is ranked for the first time in her young career, coming in at No. 47. The ranking follows her victory over North Carolina’s fifth-ranked Hayley Carter, marking the highest ranked win by an A&M freshman in school history. Sophomore Anna Mamalat is No. 103.
In doubles, Stancu and Stefania Hristov are No. 18 with a team-best 15-7 overall record, and Rutuja Bhosale and Ines Deheza are No. 56.
At No. 59, Kiah Generette is the highest ranked singles player on the Baylor squad. She is 7-2 in dual matches, including a 6-2 mark at the No. 1 line. Victoria Kisialeva also sports a 7-2 spring record, going 5-1 from the No. 2 line. Senior Jordaan Sanford, coached by Joffe as a freshman at Maryland in 2010-11, and Blair Shankle also have been impressive, going 7-3 and 9-1, respectively.
The Bears, who open Big 12 play against defending co-champion Texas Tech on Sunday, have won the doubles point in eight of 10 matches, with the pair of Kisialeva and Shankle holding an 8-1 mark at the No. 1 line.
Visit AggieAthletics.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 Facebook.com/AggieWomensTennis.