COLLEGE STATION, TX -- After playing six of its first seven matches on the road, the Texas A&M women’s tennis team opens an eagerly awaited four-match home stand beginning Thursday and Friday against BYU and No. 26 South Florida, respectively. First serve is at 6 p.m. both days at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
The Aggies (6-1), under the direction of first-year head coach Howard Joffe, return home riding a six-match winning streak and sporting a No. 23 ranking, A&M’s highest since a No. 21 billing on April 17, 2007. A&M has not lost since dropping a 4-3 decision to current No. 21 Ole Miss in the Aggies’ season opener on Jan. 28.
In addition to the team ranking, junior Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar is ranked a record-high No. 4 in singles, according to the Campbell/ITA Division I College Tennis Rankings released on Tuesday. It is the highest ranking bestowed on an A&M women’s tennis player in the history of the program and obliterates the previous longstanding record-high of No. 9 achieved by former Aggie All-American Lynn Staley as she entered the 1991 spring season.
Sanchez-Quintanar, who is 7-0 in dual matches, 20-4 overall and 8-3 against ranked opponents, is joined in the singles rankings by teammates Wen Sun and Nazari Urbina, who are No. 86 and No. 114, respectively.
A&M, which defeated Rice, 5-2, in its only home match thus far, is coming off a 6-1 victory at TCU on Monday. The Aggies came from behind to clinch the doubles point, fighting off three match points and winning tiebreakers at the Nos. 1 and 2 courts to take the early lead against the Frogs. A&M, now 15-5 in all doubles matches this spring, then went on to win on five of six singles courts.
BYU is 2-5 and mired in a three-match losing skid after falling at Idaho, 4-3, on Feb. 25. The Cougars, who will be playing their third consecutive road match, are led by Meghan Sheenhan-Dizon, who is 5-2 this spring, all at the No. 4 singles line. Aubrey Paul leads the team in overall victories with a 15-9 record and is 4-2 at No. 2 singles. Sheenhan-Dizon and Megan Price are a team-leading 5-2 in dual doubles matches, all at the No. 1 court.
South Florida jumped 19 spots to No. 26 in the rankings this week and improved to 7-3 after winning its last three matches, including a 4-3 victory over No. 22 Florida State on Feb. 24. Most recently the Bulls blanked in-state rival Florida Gulf Coast, 7-0, winning all six singles matches and two of three doubles matches.
Junior Ecaterina Vasenina is No. 43 in the nation in singles and is 6-3 at the No. 1 line to lead the Bulls. Vasenina and Loreto Alonso Martinez lead the team in doubles with a 5-3 record at No. 1.
A&M is 1-12 in the all-time series against BYU and has lost each of the last four meetings. The teams last met in 1998 with the Cougars shutting out the Aggies, 9-0.
A&M is 5-2 against South Florida but has lost the last two meetings. The teams met twice in 2010, including an NCAA first-round match-up won by the Bulls, 4-2, at Miami.
The 12th Man Rewards program will be running its special Stampfest promotion during the two matches. By attending both tennis matches, fans will get two stamps toward the 10 stamps required during Stampfest to receive a free long sleeve T-shirt and an entry to win one of the grand prizes.
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