NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW
The Texas A&M women’s tennis team received a school-record No. 3 seed in the 64-team NCAA Tennis Championship field and will host first and second rounds Saturday and Sunday, May 11-12, at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
The Aggies (21-3), who are making their 14th consecutive and 19th overall appearance in the tournament, received an at-large bid and open against Southern (10-9) Saturday at noon. The match follows a first-round meeting between TCU (17-6) and North Texas (18-5) to be played at 9 a.m., and first round winners will meet in the second round to be played Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Mitchell Tennis Center. The second-round winner advances to the round of 16 and the final championship site to be played at the University of Illinois’ Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at the Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana, Ill.. May 16-21.
NCAA FIRST AND SECOND ROUNDS SCHEDULE
(Mitchell Tennis Center, College Station, Texas)
Saturday, May 11
TCU (17-6) vs. North Texas (18-5), 9 a.m.
No. 3 Texas A&M (21-3) vs. Southern (10-9), 12 p.m.
Sunday, May 12
TCU/North Texas winner vs. No. 3 Texas A&M/Southern winner, 1 p.m.
Live video and scoring of the matches will be available at AggieAthletics.com.
Tickets to the first and second-round matches can be purchased in advance at 12thManFoundation.com or during business hours at the Athletic Ticket Office located in The Zone at Kyle Field or by calling the ticket office at 1-888-99-AGGIE or 979-845-2311. Tickets also will be available for purchase on match days at the Mitchell Tennis Center beginning one hour before match time.
Prices are as follows, with the all-session ticket also allowing entry to the men’s tennis first and second round matches to be played Friday and Saturday, May 10-11 at the Mitchell Tennis Center:
$12 All-Session Reserved (Stadium Club)
$7 Single Day Reserved (Stadium Club) $5 Single Day General Admission
$3 Single Day Students/Youth
Free for children under age two
The Aggies, whose No. 3 national ranking ties an all-time high set earlier this season, are 21-3 overall. In its in first season as a member of the Southeastern Conference, A&M went 12-1 in league play to capture the SEC regular season championship, along with two-time defending champion Florida, which received the league’s NCAA automatic bid by winning the SEC Tournament, and Georgia.
Coached by Jeffrey Conyers, Southern is 10-9 and is making its eighth NCAA appearance after earning an automatic bid by winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Women’s Tennis Championship, its fourth consecutive tournament title. The Jaguars are 0-7 all-time in NCAA tournament matches.
TCU is 17-6 overall and finished in fourth place in its first season as a member of the Big 12 Conference with a 6-3 record. The Frogs, coached by Dave Borelli and ranked No. 29 in the nation, are making their 15th NCAA appearance and enter the tournament 6-14 all-time in NCAA tournament play.
North Texas is ranked 60th in the nation with a 18-5 record. Coached by Sujay Lama, the Mean Green received the Sun Belt Conference’s automatic bid by winning the conference tournament after going 7-0 during the regular season. North Texas is making its third NCAA appearance, having suffered first-round losses in each of its last two appearances.
ALL-TIME SERIES HISTORY
A&M is 1-0 all-time against Southern. The teams met in the first round of the 2004 NCAA tournament, which the Aggies won, 4-0, at the Mitchell Tennis Center.
The Aggies lead TCU, 19-17, in the all-time series beginning in 1980. A&M has won the last three meetings, including a 6-1 victory in the most recent match-up, Feb. 27, 2012, in Fort Worth. The teams are 1-1 when meeting in the NCAA tournament. They first met in postseason play in the first round of the 2002 championship in Austin with the Frogs winning, 4-1. The teams also met in the 2007 first round in Waco, with A&M winning 4-1 to advance.
After dropping the first two meetings against North Texas, A&M is now 14-2 in the all-time series against the Mean Green. The teams first met in 1980. They had not met since 1998 when the series was rekindled earlier this season, as A&M opened its 2013 campaign with a 4-1 victory against North Texas in the first round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, Jan. 26, at the Mitchell Tennis Center.
The Aggies have not played since falling to No. 2 Florida, 4-1, in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament, April 20, in Starkville, Miss. The loss to the eventual tournament champions snapped A&M’s six-match win streak.
A&M HEAD COACH HOWARD JOFFE
A&M head coach Howard Joffe continues to lead the program to new heights in his second season at the helm of the Aggies, including an all-time high No. 3 national ranking. He also led Texas A&M to its first SEC regular season championship title in any sport. This season, he has directed A&M to a 21-3 record, including a 20-3 mark against ranked opponents and 12-1 in SEC matches. Six wins were against teams ranked in the top 15 in the nation, including a win against two-time defending champion and fourth-ranked Florida to mark the biggest win in program history. It was the Gators’ first regular-season SEC loss since 2009, and the loss snapped their 45-match overall win streak against SEC opponents. Joffe’s Aggies also tied the school record for consecutive wins with 13, tying the record set in Joffe’s first season at A&M. Joffe enters the NCAA tournament with a 88-47 (.652) record in his sixth season as a head coach, including a 40-9 (.816) mark in his second season at the helm of the Aggies.
Joffe played college tennis at Pepperdine from 1990-92 and led the Wave to three consecutive West Coast Conference titles. He was an ITA All-American in 1992, the same year he was the 1992 WCC singles champion and reached the semifinals of the NCAA Singles Championship. After three years (1992-94) on the professional tour, Joffe began his coaching career in South Africa. In 2002, he was hired as the women’s assistant coach at perennial power USC, where he finished his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2006. The two-time ITA West Region Assistant Coach of the Year and a runner-up for the 2006 national award, Joffe left USC in 2007 to be the head coach at Miami (Ohio). In his second season, Joffe was named the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year after leading the RedHawks to a 16-7 record and an appearance in the NCAA tournament. He then left to become the head coach at Maryland, where he led the Terrapins to an NCAA tournament berth in 2011.
IN THE RANKINGS
Texas A&M is No. 3 in the latest ITA team rankings, released May 2. The ranking equals the highest ranking in school history set earlier this season. The Aggies received their first-ever No. 3 ranking on March 19 and also held the No. 3 spot on March 26 and April 9. Entering the season, the previous all-time highest team ranking was a No. 9 showing on March 28, 2001.
Senior Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar, who came to A&M with Joffe in 2012 after playing one year at Maryland, became the highest ranked singles player in Texas A&M history when she was ranked No. 4 on Feb. 28, 2012. She broke her own record this season as she was listed No. 3 in the Jan. 3 preseason singles ranking. She has been ranked in the top seven for the entire 2012-13 season and enters the NCAA tournament ranked No. 4.
After not being listed in the January 3 preseason singles rankings, senior Nazari Urbina has worked her way up to a No. 52 ranking. Junior Cristina Stancu is No. 68, rounding out A&M’s nationally ranked singles players.
In doubles, Stancu and freshman Stefania Hristov are No. 18. They have been ranked as high as No. 7 (March 26), the highest doubles ranking in school history. Sanchez-Quintanar and senior partner Wen Sun also are listed in the doubles rankings, as they enter NCAAs ranked No. 49.
SANCHEZ-QUINTANAR IS A&M’S FIRST TWO-TIME ALL-AMERICAN
Texas A&M senior Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar became the school’s first two-time All-American in women’s tennis after receiving a school record-high No. 4 seed in the 2013 NCAA Singles Championship 64-player field. Sanchez-Quintanar first guaranteed herself All-America honors from the ITA after being named the No. 7 seed in the 2012 NCAA Singles Championship. She was A&M’s first All-American since 2005 and fifth overall, but she became the first in school history to garner the distinction by virtue of being a top 16 seed. Sanchez-Quintanar advanced to the quarterfinals in 2012, tying former Aggie All-American Kim Labuschagne (1987) for the best finish in program history. Sanchez-Quintanar is the first All-American coached by Howard Joffe, who is in his second year at A&M and in the sixth season of his head coaching career.
A&M TO SEND FOUR TO NCAA INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Seniors Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Nazari Urbina will represent Texas A&M at the NCAA Singles Championships, and the Aggie tandem of freshman Stefania Hristov and junior Cristina Stancu will compete in the NCAA Doubles Championship.
Sanchez-Quintanar is making her third consecutive appearance at the NCAA Singles Championship. Last year, she received a No. 7 seed to become A&M’s fifth All-American and the first in school history to garner the distinction by virtue of being a top 16 seed. The Campo de Criptana, Spain, native advanced to the quarterfinals, tying former Aggie All-American Kim Labuschagne (1987) for the best finish in A&M history. Sanchez-Quintanar made her first tournament appearance in 2011, her only season at Maryland. The then-sophomore became the Terrapins’ first-ever player to reach the singles round of 32 after defeating Urbina in the first round.
An All-SEC first-team selection, Sanchez-Quintanar is 35-7 overall – including 22-5 against ranked opponents – and ranks fourth in the A&M records for most singles victories in a season. Currently ranked No. 4 in the ITA national singles rankings, Sanchez-Quintanar has been ranked as high as No. 3, the highest ranking in school history.
Teammate Nazari Urbina also is making history, as she is making a school-record fourth consecutive appearance. Urbina, whose 97 career singles victories ranks fourth in the A&M all-time records, is 17-7 overall this season and currently No. 52 in the ITA singles rankings. She went 9-1 in SEC matches, including a 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-1 victory over Florida’s 53rd-ranked Alexandra Cercone in the last match standing to clinch the Aggies’ 4-3 victory over the two-time defending national champion Gators and help propel A&M to an SEC regular season championship.
In 2010, Urbina became A&M’s first-ever freshman to compete in the elite event, and last year she became the first Aggie to compete in three NCAA singles tournaments.
Stancu, in her first year at A&M after transferring from Maryland, and Hristov are 19-9 overall and ranked No. 18 in the nation in doubles. They set the school record for the highest doubles ranking in program history earlier this season when they were tabbed No. 7 in the nation. In the fall, the duo won the ITA Texas Regional, including a 9-7 victory over then sixth-ranked Samantha Adams and Kenna Kilgo of Texas Tech to earn an automatic berth to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships in New York.
The singles and doubles competitions will be conducted May 22-27 at the University of Illinois’ Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex/Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana, Ill., following the conclusion of the team championship (May 17-21). All matches will be the best of three sets. Regular scoring and a 12-point tiebreaker at six games all will be used for all matches.
Senior Nazari Urbina’s 97 career singles victories places her fourth in the A&M records. Anna Blagodarova holds down the No. 3 spot with 100 victories from 2005 to 2008, and the all-time record is 113 held by Nicki Mechem (2003-04, 2006-07)
Senior Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar enters the NCAA championships with a 35-7 singles record this season, ranking third in the A&M annals for most victories in a season. Last year, she went 40-6 (.870), ranking second in the A&M records for most wins and obliterating the school record for highest winning percentage in a single season. With a career record of 75-13 (.852), she is on pace to shatter the school record for career winning percentage. The record entering the 2012-13 season was .765, set by Morgan Frank (2008-11).
AGGIES GARNER ALL-SEC ACCOLADES
Texas A&M seniors Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Nazari Urbina were named to the All-SEC first team for women’s tennis and Aggie junior Cristina Stancu was named to the second team, according to a vote of the league’s head tennis coaches.
Playing in the nation’s toughest conference, which boasts four teams ranked in the Top 10, the trio helped the Aggie women’s tennis team capture the school’s first SEC regular season championship in any sport as A&M went 12-1 in conference play to tie two-time defending national champion Florida and No. 4-ranked Georgia for the overall league title. The Aggies also won the SEC Western Division, finishing with a two-game lead over second-place Alabama, ranked No. 9 in the nation.
Texas A&M is 15-3 against the tournament field, including a 4-3 victory over two-time defending national champion Florida...A&M enters the NCAAs having won six of its last seven matches...The Aggies are 20-3 against ranked opponents, including a 4-3 victory against then-No. 4 Florida, marking A&M’s highest ranked win in school history...A&M is 10-3 against Top 25 foes and 6-3 against teams ranked in the top 10...A&M is A&M is 9-1 in home matches, with a 4-2 setback to then-No. 5 Georgia as the only blemish...A&M is 15-1 when winning the doubles point, 16-0 when No. 1 singles wins, 13-0 when No. 3 singles wins, and 11-0 when No. 5 singles wins...The No. 6 line has the most singles wins with a 17-1 record...The Aggies are a combined 42-14 at the No. 1, 2 and 3 singles lines...A&M is a combined 39-24 at the three doubles lines...The doubles team of twin sisters Ines and Paula Deheza are riding a team-best five-match winning streak. They also lead the team in doubles victories with a 15-5 record in dual matches...A&M has three seniors who are concluding their Aggie careers: Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar, Wen Sun and Nazari Urbina.