COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 11th-ranked Texas A&M women’s tennis team faces its fourth consecutive Top 15 opponent Saturday as the Aggies take on No. 13 Michigan at noon at the Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor.
Live scoring and video of the match will be available on AggieAthletics.com, courtesy of the University of Michigan athletics.
The Aggies, whose No. 11 ranking is the second highest in the history of the program, are 4-1 and are coming off back-to-back wins against No. 11 Texas and No. 12 last weekend at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Charlottesville, Va. With Howard Joffe in his second season as head coach of the Aggies, A&M’s only loss this season is to eventual ITA indoor champion and current No. 1 North Carolina in the opening round of the tournament.
Michigan, under the direction of sixth-year head coach Ronni Bernstein, enters the match 5-2 and also is coming off consecutive ranked wins. The Wolverines, whose two losses are against then-No. 8 North Carolina and No. 7 California, defeated No. 12 Virginia and No. 21 Vanderbilt in the consolations of the ITA National Indoor Championship. A&M marks Michigan’s sixth consecutive Top-25 opponent.
The all-time series between the Aggies and the Wolverines is tied at 2-2. The teams most recently met last year in Ann Arbor, where Michigan prevailed in a hard-fought 4-3 victory over the Aggies in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Championship, ending A&M’s season and advancing Michigan to the Sweet 16. The teams were slated to play during the 2012 regular season in College Station, but the match was canceled due to rain.
Senior Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar leads Texas A&M with a 4-0 record at No. 1 singles this season. Ranked No. 5 nationally in singles, Sanchez-Quintanar is 23-3 overall, including 12-1 against ranked opponents. Most recently, she defeated fourth-ranked Julia Elbaba, 6-1, 6-3, to clinch the Aggies’ 4-1 victory over Virginia.
Junior Cristina Stancu, the reigning Southeastern Conference Player of the Week, is 4-0 at the No. 2 singles line and is riding a team-best five-match winning streak. Ranked No 73 in singles, the junior from Romania is coming off a 6-3, 6-1 victory against No. 44 Li Xi of Virginia.
Senior Nazari Urbina, the only player in A&M history to participate in the NCAA Singles Championship in three consecutive years, appeared in the singles rankings for the first time this spring, coming in at No. 54 this week, giving A&M three nationally ranked singles players.
Stancu and freshman Stefania Hristov, who is 4-0 at No. 6 singles, are ranked No. 11 in the nation in doubles. They are 4-1 at the No. 1 line and 13-4 overall, and they will likely face the Wolverines’ sixth-ranked duo of Brooke Bolender and Emina Bektas at the top of the lineup.
Bektas leads Michigan at the No. 1 singles line with a 4-2 record. The sophomore is currently ranked 48th in the national singles rankings, while freshman Ronit Yurovsky is No. 32. Yurovsky is 3-0 at No. 2 singles and is riding an 11-match winning streak. She and sophomore Sarah Lee are No. 34 in doubles.
Following the match at Michigan, the Aggies return home to play host to Sam Houston State on Monday, Feb. 25. First serve of the recently added match is set for 3 p.m. at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
The match against the Bearkats marks the start of an exciting four-match home stand covering seven days for A&M. The Aggies host former Big 12 Conference foe and 18th-ranked Baylor on Wednesday, Feb. 27 and then begin their inaugural SEC season Friday, March 1 against South Carolina. A&M concludes its longest home stand of the season Sunday, March 3 against defending national champion and SEC preseason favorite Florida.