COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Southeastern Conference titles are on the line as the No. 3 nationally ranked Texas A&M women’s tennis team wraps up its regular season with a pair of road matches this weekend. The Aggies (18-2, 10-1 SEC) are in first place and own a one-game lead over eighth-ranked Alabama in the SEC Western Division, and they are tied with Eastern Division foes No. 2 Florida and No. 4 Georgia for the overall SEC lead heading into matches at Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
The Aggies, 8-0 in away matches this season, face Mississippi State (7-12, 1-10 SEC) Friday at 3 p.m. at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre in Starkville, Miss., and conclude the regular season at No. 43 Ole Miss (13-11, 4-7 SEC) Sunday at noon at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center in Oxford, Miss.
“As the regular season winds down, our charge is to worry less about potential seeding and positioning and concern ourselves with playing good tennis and performing well,” A&M second-year head coach Howard Joffe said. “In Mississippi State and Ole Miss, we will have two motivated and capable teams that will require all of our effort and focus."
A&M, whose No. 3 national ranking equals the highest ranking in program history, has won its last three matches, including a clutch 4-3 victory against then-No. 7 Alabama in the Aggies’ regular season home finale on Sunday at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. Freshman Ines Deheza clinched the victory against the Crimson Tide in the last match standing, defeating Antonia Foehse, 6-4, 5-7, 6-1, at No. 4 singles to extend her winning streak to a team-best 10 matches and improve to 8-0 in SEC contests.
Senior Nazari Urbina improved to 9-0 in SEC matches with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over 56th-ranked Alexa Guarachi at the No. 2 line. Urbina, No. 52 in the singles rankings released earlier this week, improved to 96-30 in her career to take over sole possession of fourth place in the A&M records for career singles victories. She needs four more wins to reach the 100-win milestone and move into a tie for third in the record books.
Senior All-American Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar tops the Aggies with a No. 4 national ranking. She is 33-6 overall in singles, tying for fourth in the A&M single season records for most wins. She boasts a 21-4 mark against nationally ranked opponents, and she is 14-3 in dual matches only, all at the No. 1 line.
Junior Cristina Stancu joins Sanchez and Urbina in the national singles rankings with a No. 65 billing. She and freshman partner Stefania Hristov lead the Aggies with a No. 15 ranking in doubles.
Sanchez-Quintanar and partner Wen Sun climbed to No. 56 in this week’s national doubles rankings.
A&M is 12-0 when winning the doubles point and is a combined 31-22 at the three doubles lines, as well as a combined 73-27 in singles matches this spring.
Mississippi State will be looking to get back into the win column after losing each of its last three matches. Most recently, the Lady Bulldogs suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 defeat at No. 29 South Carolina last Friday and then fell 4-0 at No. 2 Florida on Sunday.
Ole Miss enters a Friday contest against Missouri having won its last three matches after winning a tripleheader of non-conference matches Tuesday. The Rebels did not drop a point as they defeated Tennessee State in a doubleheader, 7-0, 7-0, and then shut out Lipscomb, 4-0. The Rebels’ Caroline Rohde-Moe is ranked No. 39 in the nation in singles, and she and partner Marija Milutinovic are No. 38 in doubles.
A&M and Mississippi State will be meeting for only the second time in the all-time series. A&M won the first-ever meeting, 5-4, on Feb. 19, 1989, before any of A&M’s current players were born.
A&M is 2-1 all-time against Ole Miss. The Rebels, however, defeated the Aggies, 4-3, last year in the season-opener at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Tallahassee, Fla.
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: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Aggie-Womens-Tennis/143874782434654