COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M women’s tennis head coach Howard Joffe will be aiming for the 100th-victory of his career as the ninth-ranked Aggies take on No. 42 South Carolina on Sunday in Columbia, S.C. First serve against the Gamecocks is at 11 a.m. (12 p.m. ET) at the Carolina Tennis Center.
Joffe, 99-51 in the seventh season of his head coaching career, including 51-13 in his third season at Texas A&M, will be making his second attempt for the milestone victory after the Aggies fell at No. 5 Florida, 4-0, on Friday in both teams’ Southeastern Conference season opener. With the loss, A&M dropped to 6-3 overall with all three losses coming against teams currently ranked in the top seven.
South Carolina won its fourth consecutive match and improved to 10-2, 1-0 SEC after winning its conference opener, 6-1, over Missouri on Friday. The Gamecocks, whose two losses are against teams currently ranked in the top 15, also improved to 9-1 in home matches with the victory over the Tigers.
The Gamecocks are 7-2 against A&M in the all-time series which began in 1988, but the Aggies are 1-0 in SEC matches after defeating then-no. 43 South Carolina, 5-2, in College Station last year in the first-ever meeting as conference foes and the first contest since 1995. The victory snapped A&M’s six-match losing skid against the Gamecocks.
Individually, lone-senior Cristina Stancu leads the Aggies with a No. 15 national ranking in singles. She is 20-7 overall, including 13-4 against ranked opponents. Others listed in the national singles rankings are freshman Saska Gavrilovska at No. 57 and sophomore Anna Mamalat at No. 118.
South Carolina has two singles players in the national rankings: No. 85 Brigit Folland and No. 90 Katerina Popova. Popova is 10-1 in dual matches, having seen action at the Nos. 1-3 singles lines. Although none of their doubles teams are ranked, the Gamecocks are 10-0 when winning the doubles point, with the No. 2 line leading the way with a 10-0 record at the position.
Live video and scoring from the Carolina Tennis Complex will be available at AggieAthletics.com.
A&M begins a four-match SEC home stand next weekend, taking on No. 31 Kentucky on Friday, March 7 at 4 p.m. and facing No. 8 Vanderbilt, Sunday, March 9 at noon at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center, where the Aggies are 4-0.
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.