No. 19 Texas A&M opens SEC Tournament against Mississippi State

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COLLEGE STATION – The No. 19 Texas A&M women’s tennis team opens the SEC Tournament Thursday on their home courts against Mississippi State. The Aggies (20-6) and Bulldogs (14-12) are set to compete at 2 p.m. (CT) at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.

The two teams matched up one week ago in Starkville as weather forced the match to move up a day. The Aggies prevailed with a 4-2 win behind the doubles point and singles victories from Jayci Goldsmith, Tatiana Makarova and Lucia Quiterio. With last week’s win, the Aggies improved to 8-1 all-time against the Bulldogs including a 6-1 mark since A&M joined the SEC.

“The team is excited to host the SEC tournament and we are all looking to embrace the home court advantage that we have,” Texas A&M women’s tennis head coach Mark Weaver said. “We had a very strong regular season and now we move on to the second chapter of our season. We look to take full advantage of the opportunity that lies ahead of us.”

A&M has posted an astonishing 95-35 singles record and 43-18 doubles mark in dual matches this spring. The depth on the A&M roster is unparalleled in the league, the Aggies are the only team in the SEC that has seven players with at least 10 dual wins, the next closest is Kentucky with six players with double digit victories.

Texas A&M is by far the youngest team in the country with five freshman and three sophomores. The freshman class was ranked as the No. 2 recruiting class last spring, the Aggies were one of only two schools to sign multiple blue chip recruits signing three versus Stanford’s two.

A&M enlists a pair of ranked singles players and one doubles team, highlighted by Katya Townsend at No. 54 in the national rankings. Townsend, a freshman from Coconut Creek, Florida, has posted a 13-6 mark in dual matches including four ranked wins including the highest ranked win by a freshman in program history. Townsend’s classmate, Jayci Goldsmith, moved to No. 69 in this week’s rankings as she recorded back-to-back wins against ranked opponents a week ago and improved to 16-6 this spring.

The Aggies’ No. 1 doubles team of Goldsmith and Tatiana Makarova are ranked No. 32 this week. The duo have gone 16-6 on the top doubles court, including a top-10 win at LSU as the defeated the defending NCAA Doubles Champions.

A&M Sophomore Riley McQuaid has been nearly unbeatable this spring, going 17-4 in dual matches and 6-3 in league play. McQuaid’s 17 dual wins leads the SEC and surpasses her team-leading total of 15 dual victories a season ago.

The Aggies are 5-6 all-time in the SEC Tournament, reaching the semifinals in the 2013 and 2014 tournament. Thursday’s matchup is the first for Texas A&M and Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament.

The winner of Thursday’s matchup takes on No. 17 Tennessee in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals at 2 p.m. on Friday.