COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 15th-ranked Texas A&M women’s tennis team has an opportunity to break the program’s record for consecutive victories when the Aggies play host to No. 16 Michigan Friday at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. The match has been changed to a noon start due to rain in the forecast.
A&M is 9-1 under the direction of first-year head coach Howard Joffe and has won its last nine matches. The Aggies, who are 4-0 in home matches, will be aiming to break the school record of consecutive victories set in 1986. The team tied the all-time record with a 7-0 victory over William and Mary on Tuesday.
A&M, whose No. 15 ranking is the team’s highest since a No. 14 billing on March 24, 2007, sports three nationally ranked singles players. At No. 4, Cristina Sanchez is the highest ranked player in school history. The junior is 10-0 in dual matches, having seen action at both the Nos. 1 and 2 lines, and is 23-4 overall, including 9-3 against nationally ranked opponents.
Wen Sun is No. 86 with an 8-2 record at the No. 3 line. Nazari Urbina also is 8-2, having split time with Sanchez-Quintanar at the top two lines, and is ranked No. 114.
Although A&M does not have any ranked doubles teams, the Aggies have been quite successful, winning the doubles point in each of the last nine matches and boasting a combined 23-6 record in dual competition. Janelle Cuthbertson and Urbina have teamed for seven consecutive wins and are 7-1 at the No. 2 position. The senior tandem of Sheri Olivier and Lauren Santacroce leads the team in victories with an 8-1 record, all at the No. 3 line. Sanchez-Quintanar and Sun are 7-3 at No. 1 doubles.
Michigan, the highest ranked team A&M has faced this season, is 7-3 with its only losses coming against Duke, Georgia and Tennessee, who are all currently ranked in the top 10. The Wolverines, who reached the NCAA third round and were ranked No. 10 in the final poll in 2011, are coming off a rain-shortened 4-1 victory at Hawaii on March 2.
Freshman Wolverine Emina Bektas, who trained at John Newcombe Tennis Academy in New Braunfels, Texas, and graduated from New Braunfels High School, is the No. 10-ranked singles player in the nation. She is 8-0 in dual matches, including a straight-set victory against then-No. 2 Chelsey Gullickson of Georgia at the ITA National Team Indoors Championship on Feb. 12.
Sophomores Brooke Bolender and Sam Critser also are nationally ranked in singles, coming in at No. 57 and No. 75, respectively.
In doubles, Bektas and Bolender are No. 5 in the nation with a 9-1 record. They are riding a six-match winning steak. Mimi Nguyen and Michelle Sulahian are No. 48.
A&M is 2-1 in the all-time series against Michigan, but the Wolverines won, 6-1, in the most recent meeting in 2009 in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The match against the Wolverines will conclude A&M’s four-match home stand and represents the Aggies’ final tune-up before they open their final Big 12 Conference season at Missouri on March 16.
Any youth tennis club members wearing anything with their team name or logo will receive free admission to the Michigan match. Also the first 150 kids will receive a free drawstring bag.
Season tickets and individual tickets to home matches can be purchased in advance online at AggieAthletics.com or by calling the Athletic Ticket Office at 1-888-99-AGGIE. Tickets also can be purchased at the entrance to the tennis center begin one hour before the start of the match.