COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The seventh-ranked Texas A&M women’s tennis team continues its home stand Friday as the Aggies play host to No. 39 Arkansas at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. First serve is at 5 p.m.
A&M has won six of its last seven matches, including each of the last three, to improve to 9-3 overall and 3-1 in Southeastern Conference play. The Aggies, who climbed three spots in the national rankings released earlier this week to equal their highest ranking of the season, improved to 6-0 in home matches by defeating then-No. 7 Vanderbilt in their most recent outing. It was A&M’s fourth win against a top-25 opponent this season, including its second victory against a top-10 team.
In the first computerized rankings of the year released earlier this week, Arkansas (5-8, 0-4 SEC) climbed six spots to No. 39 despite being mired in a seven-match losing skid after facing seven consecutive ranked opponents. Most recently, the Razorbacks suffered a 4-0 home loss to No. 4 Alabama on Sunday.
Four of the Razorbacks’ five wins this season are against teams that are listed in the most recent ITA rankings: a doubleheader sweep against No. 46 Wichita State, No. 35 Kansas State and No. 67 North Texas. The match against the Aggies will be the Razorbacks’ second of the day as they will play a non-conference match at Prairie View A&M Friday morning before heading to College Station.
Individually, Cristina Stancu and Saska Gavrilovska, the reigning SEC player and SEC freshman of the week, respectively, pace the Aggies in singles matches. Stancu is riding a five-match win streak and boasts a No. 14 national singles ranking. The senior from Romania is 23-7 overall, including 7-3 in dual matches at the No. 1 line, and she is 3-0 in SEC matches only.
Gavrilovska, a freshman from Serbia, is No. 56 in the latest ITA national singles rankings. She is riding a three-match win streak and is 12-6 overall, 8-3 in dual matches and 3-1 in conference contests.
No. 110 Anna Mamalat, a sophomore from Philadelphia who posted the clinching point in A&M’s victory against Vanderbilt, completes the list of Aggies in the singles rankings.
The Aggies, who have not dropped a doubles match in SEC play this season, also have two ranked doubles teams. Stancu and partner Stefania Hristov reappeared in the rankings at No. 23 after being unranked for the first time in over a year in the previous individual rankings released in late February. The duo is 17-7 overall and 6-2 in dual matches at the No. 1 line, including 2-0 in SEC play.
Gavrilovska and partner Ines Deheza have won four consecutive matches and this week entered the rankings for the first time, coming in at No. 60. They are 4-0 in dual matches at the No. 2 line, including 3-0 in SEC matches only.
Shannon Hudson and Sasha Shkorupeieva lead the Razorbacks in singles wins with identical 6-5 records. Shkorupeieva and Yang Pang share the team lead with five doubles victories apiece in dual matches.
A&M holds a 9-6 lead, including a 6-0 record in home matches, in the all-time series against the Razorbacks after winning three of the last four meetings. The former Southwest Conference foes first met in 1982, with Arkansas edging the Aggies, 5-4.
Last year, in the first meeting as Southeastern Conference opponents, A&M topped the Razorbacks, 6-1, at the Billingsley Tennis Center indoor courts in Fayetteville, Ark. The Razorbacks’ most recent victory against the Aggies was a 6-1 home win in 2011.
Free live video and scoring of the match will be available at AggieAthletics.com.
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.