Texas A&M junior Nazari Urbina posted a straight-set singles victory against a higher ranked opponent, but it would be the only point for the 21st-ranked Aggies, who fell to No. 18 Notre Dame, 6-1, in a non-conference match tonight at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
It was second consecutive loss and the first home defeat for the Aggies, who fall to 13-3 overall and 6-1 in home matches. Notre Dame snapped a two-match losing skid and improves to 15-7 as the Fighting Irish top the Aggies for the ninth consecutive time in the all-time series.
“The overall score line is obviously disappointing and if there are any other disappointments other than the score about today’s match, it is just that I thought we were a little flat in the doubles,” A&M first-year head coach Howard Joffe said. “But aside from that, I’m disappointed for my kids; I’m not disappointed in them. They fought tooth and nail up and down in all the matches.”
A&M was swept in doubles for the first time this season and the Fighting Irish jumped out to a 1-0 lead. Notre Dame’s 67th-ranked duo of Julie Sabacinski and Britney Sanders was first off after winning 8-2 at the No. 2 line against Urbina and Janine Erasmus, who was playing in place of the injured Janelle Cuthbertson. Jennifer Kellner and Chrissie McGaffigan then clinched the point with an 8-5 victory over Sheri Olivier and Lauren Santacroce at No. 3. It marked the first time A&M lost a doubles point since the season opener against Ole Miss on Jan. 28.
A&M’s Christina Sanchez-Quintanar and Wen Sun fought off a match point against fifth-ranked Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews to get back on serve at 7-6 at the No. 1 line and staved off two more match points before the Fighting Irish prevailed, 8-6, to complete the sweep.
Notre Dame jumped out to a 3-0 lead by winning the first two singles matches to be completed. Kellner downed Santacroce, 6-1, 6-2, at the No. 4 line, and McGaffigan followed with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Olivier at No. 5.
Urbina, ranked No. 101 then posted A&M’s only point, overcoming a 4-1 deficit in the first set to win, 6-4, 6-3 at the No. 2 line against No. 95 Frilling, who was aiming for her 100th career victory.
Sabacinski won the last three games in each of her sets to close out a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Erasmus at the No. 6 line to clinch the winning point for the Irish.
After opening the dual season with 15 consecutive wins, No. 7 Sanchez-Quintanar then suffered her first loss as 54th-ranked Mathews closed out a come-from-behind victory at the No. 1 line. Sanchez-Quintanar won the first set, 6-3, and was up 4-2 in the second set before Mathews rallied to win the set, 6-4, and force a 10-point super tiebreaker. Sanchez-Quintanar equaled her biggest lead at 8-5 in the tiebreaker, but Mathews made another run, tying the score at 8-8. Mathews then had match point at 9-8, but Sanchez-Quintanar fought back and took the lead at 10-9. Mathews fought off the match point and took leads at 11-10, and 12-11 before closing out the match, 13-11.
Sanders capped the match for the Irish at the No. 3 court. After dropping the first set to Sun, 6-2, Sanders won the next two sets, 6-4, 7-5, to close out the 6-1 victory.
The Aggies return to Big 12 Conference action on Friday as they host 20th-ranked and league-leader Texas Tech (15-3, 5-0 Big 12). First serve is at 6 p.m. at the Mitchell Tennis Center.
No. 18 Notre Dame 6, No. 21 Texas A&M 1
April 9, 2012
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
College Station, Texas
1. (#54) Shannon Mathews (ND) def. (#7) Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (TAMU), 3-6, 4-6, 1-0 (11)
2. (#101) Nazari Urbina (TAMU) def. (#95) Kristy Frilling (ND), 6-4, 6-3
3. Britney Sanders (ND) def. (#73) Wen Sun (TAMU), 2-6, 6-4, 7-5
4. Jennifer Kellner (ND) def. Lauren Santacroce (TAMU), 6-1, 6-2
5. Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) def. Sheri Olivier (TAMU), 6-2, 6-3
6. Julie Sabacinski (ND) def. Janine Erasmus (TAMU), 6-3, 6-4
Doubles (Notre Dame wins the point)
1. (#5) Frilling/Mathews (ND) def. Sanchez-Quintanar/Sun (TAMU), 8-6
2. (#67) Sabacinski/Sanders (ND) def. Erasmus/Urbina (TAMU), 8-2
3. Kellner/McGaffigan (ND) def. Olivier/Santacroce (TAMU), 8-5
Order of finish
Doubles: 2, 3, 1
Singles: 4, 5, 2, 6*, 1, 3
* - Clinched match
Texas A&M: 13-3
Notre Dame: 15-7