COLLEGE STATION, Texas – No. 22 Texas Tech came from behind in the last match standing to edge 20th-ranked Texas A&M, 4-3, tonight at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center and stay atop the Big 12 Conference standings with a perfect 6-0 record.
A&M suffers its third consecutive loss, all to Top 25 opponents, and drops to 13-4 overall and 4-2 in Big 12 play. It was only the second loss by the Aggies in the all-time series against the Lady Raiders, who had lost the last 27 meetings against A&M.
A&M took the early lead in doubles as Christina Sanchez-Quintanar and Wen Sun teamed to defeat 22nd-ranked Samantha Adams and Kenna Kilgo at the No. 1 line. It would be the only doubles match the Aggies would win as the Lady Raiders came out on top in the back-and forth contests at Nos. 2 and 3.
Tech’s Rashmi Teltumbde and Elizabeth Ullathorne trailed Sheri Olivier and Lauren Santacroce 4-2 at the No. 3 line before rallying to win the next four games to take a 6-4 advantage. The teams held serve for the remainder of the match, and the Lady Raiders went on to win, 8-6.
The crucial doubles point eventually came down to a tiebreaker at the No. 2 line. Early on, Tech’s Nikki Sanders and Caroline Starck jumped out to a 6-2 lead over Nazari Urbina and Janine Erasmus, who was filling in for Janelle Cuthbertson who missed her second consecutive match with an injury. The Aggie duo then suddenly made a valiant comeback, winning five consecutive games to take a 7-6 lead. Tech came back to regain an 8-7 lead, but A&M tied the match at 8-8 to force a tiebreaker. Trailing 2-1 in the tiebreaker, Tech scored six unanswered points to win the match and give the Lady Raiders a 1-0 lead.
“We were 6-2 down (at No. 2) and it was looking pretty hopeless, so we changed up the dynamic such that we tailored it to suit Naz’s skill set and Janine’s,” A&M coach Howard Joffe said, “and much like Moses and the Bible, suddenly the dynamic changed and we were right there with an opportunity to win it. We ended up losing it in the end, less as a dynamic of the tennis and more the nerves.”
Fifth-ranked Sanchez-Quintanar quickly evened the score at the start of singles, disposing of Ullathorne, 6-1, 6-0 to improve to 6-0 in conference matches at the No. 1 line. Sanchez-Quintanar also improved to 29-5 overall, moving her into a tie for ninth place in the A&M records for most wins in a single season.
Tech immediately regained the lead as Kilgo quickly finished off Erasmus, 6-2, 6-0 at the No. 5 line.
Urbina improved to 5-1 in league play and put the Aggies at 2-2 with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Adams at No. 2 before Sanders put the Red Raiders ahead, 3-2, with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Olivier at No. 6.
Sun saddled 120th-ranked Teltumbde with a 6-3, 6-2 loss at No. 3 to tie the score for the final time at 3-3, and all eyes then turned to Court 4.
Santacroce had won the first set, 6-2, against Starck, but the Lady Raider gained the momentum in the second set, winning six consecutive games to close out a 6-2 win and force a third set. She extended her game winning streak to nine, as she jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third set and never looked back, completing a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Santacroce to clinch the Lady Raiders’ first victory over A&M since 1987.
“At No. 1, 2 and 3 singles, we beat the snot out of them and at No. 4, 5 and 6, we got beaten pretty badly,” Joffe said. “With no disrespect to our kids, they are fighting so hard and I feel absolutely awful for them. We played with three very good players and three who weren’t up for the task, and so the match was a true reflection of the score. Both in the doubles and the singles, we were one point or one player behind.
“We certainly had some opportunities with that,” Joffe said about the deciding doubles match. “That was a critical item. I suppose the other place where we could have finagled another match was Lauren’s match. And again, it is just so difficult for the kids. Lauren is about 4,000 percent better than she what she was last week in terms of she’s had a couple of maladies and ailments. Her wrist was fine, so she was able to play with a two-handed backhand, and yet she completely sort of ran out of steam.
“When you are looking at it in terms of today’s results, it is awfully disappointing for her and the group. That was also another sort of teetering point opportunity, but through the lenses of the season, tonight was good news. We’ve got Lauren back. She is healthy. She’ll be better next week. We actually looked much better than we did last week.”
The Aggies play their final home match of the regular season on Tuesday, April 17 as they play host to 13th-ranked Texas in a State Farm Lone Star Showdown. It will be “Senior Day,” and Olivier and Santacroce will be honored before the match, which begins at 6 p.m. at the Mitchell Tennis Center. Tickets can be purchased at AggieAthletics.com.
No. 22 Texas Tech 4, No. 20 Texas A&M 3
April 13, 2012
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
College Station, Texas
1. (#5) Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (TAMU) def. Elizabeth Ullathorne (TTU), 6-1, 6-2
2. (#84) Nazari Urbina (TAMU) def. Samantha Adams, 6-2, 6-1
3. (#78) Wen Sun (TAMU) def. (#120) Rashmi Teltumbde (TTU), 6-3, 6-2
4. Caroline Starck (TTU) def. Lauren Santacroce (TAMU), 2-6, 6-2, 6-1
5. Kenna Kilgo (TTU) def. Janine Erasmus (TAMU), 6-2, 6-0
6. Nikki Sanders (TTU) def. Sheri Olivier (TAMU), 6-2, 6-2
Doubles (Texas Tech wins the point)
1. Sanchez-Quintanar/Sun (TAMU) def. (#22) Adams/Kilgo (TTU), 8-3
2. Sanders/Starck (TTU) def. Erasmus/Urbina (TAMU), 9-8 (2)
3. Teltumbde/Ullathorne (TTU) def. Olivier/Santacroce (TAMU), 8-6
Order of finish
Doubles: 1, 3, 2
Singles: 1, 5, 2, 6, 3, 4*
* - Clinched match
Texas A&M: 13-4, 4-2 Big 12
Texas Tech: 16-3, 6-0 Big 12