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A&M Defeats LSU, 5-2

February 05, 2012
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
BATON ROUGE, La. - The Texas A&M women's tennis team spoiled LSU's season home opener and handed the Tigers their first loss of the young season by defeating the future Southeastern Conference foe, 5-2, today at the W.T. 'Dub' Robinson Stadium.

The Aggies (2-1) swept the doubles competition for the first time this season to take a 1-0 lead. A&M's Janine Erasmus and Nazari Urbina went up a break at 6-4 against LSU's Olivia Howlett and Yvette Vlaar at the No. 2 line, giving the Aggie duo the cushion it needed to get the win. The teams held serve for the remainder of the match before A&M won, 8-5.

Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Sun Wen had nearly identical results at the No. 1 line, going up a break at 6-4 en route to the 8-5 victory over LSU's Whitney Wolf and Keri Frankenberger. With Sanchez-Quintanar serving to close out the match, the A&M tandem capped the win and gave the Aggies a 1-0 lead by holding LSU scoreless in the final game.

The match at the No. 3 line was tied at 6-6 when the doubles point was clinched, and both coaches agreed to play a 7-point tiebreaker to determine the victor. A&M's Sheri Olivier and Lauren Santacroce dropped the first two points to Kaitlin Burns and Ebie Wilson before reeling off seven unanswered points to run away with the win.

"The doubles point in terms of the outcome of the match was a critical item today," A&M first-year head coach Howard Joffe said. "We ended up winning all three doubles matches, but with not too much imagination we could have easily lost all three. It was very, very closely contested. Obviously that gave us a little bit of an edge going into the singles."

Eleventh-ranked Sanchez-Quintanar gave the Aggies a 2-0 lead and improved to 3-0 on the season with a straight-set victory over Howlett at the No. 2 line. The junior from Spain broke Howlett to finish off a 6-4 win in the first set and then jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second set before winning, 6-1.

After getting broken in the first game, the 61st-ranked Wen was fighting from behind most of the first set before taking her first lead at 6-5 against Burns at the No. 3 line. Wen then broke Burns to close out a 7-5 win in the opening frame. Wen carried the momentum into the second set, quickly taking command by winning the first four games while racing to a 6-1 victory that gave the Aggies a 3-0 lead.

Frankenberger put the Tigers on the scoreboard, holding off Erasmus 6-4, 6-4 at the No. 5 court before Urbina secured the winning point for the Aggies. Playing the No. 1 line for the first time this season, the 105th-ranked Urbina eventually pulled away from Wolf to post the clinching point. Each set was tied at 3-3 before Urbina won three consecutive games in back-to-back sets to close out the victory and give the Aggies a 4-1 lead.

Vlaar scored the Tigers' only other point. After dropping the first set against Olivier, 6-4, at the No. 6 line, Vlaar won the next two sets 6-2, 6-3.

A&M had just clinched the overall victory as Santacroce evened her match at a set apiece against Wilson at the No. 4 position. After Wilson took the first set, 6-2, and jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second, the undefeated Santacroce mounted a comeback. The senior won the next six games to tie the match and force a 10-point super tiebreaker. Santacroce fought off match point at 9-8 and again at 10-9 before regaining the lead in the decisive tiebreaker at 11-10. Wilson held off one match point before Santacroce scored back-to-back points to close out the victory and improve to 3-0 on the year.

"I couldn't be more proud of our group," Joffe said. "They are fighting really, really hard. We played pretty well. LSU is a pretty good team, and that match was extremely hairy right up until Nazari clinched the match. So I'm very happy to get the win and even more excited to see that we have a team that is willing to put themselves out there and fight."

It marked A&M's third consecutive win against the Tigers, who fall to 1-1. It also marked the Aggies' seventh win in the last eight meetings against LSU.

The Aggies have a break in their competition schedule before concluding their season-opening five-match road swing at Fresno State on Feb. 17 and at Washington on Feb. 19. The Aggies make their home debut against Rice on Feb. 24.

"Like I've said from the outset, the object of the exercise for us is to keep getting better," Joffe said. "While it is another 10 days or two weeks off, we want to use that time to make sure that our three doubles teams and our six singles players get just a little bit better. The important thing is to have very good practices so that we can continue to improve our play."

No. 30 Texas A&M 5, No. 65 LSU 2
February 5, 2012

W.T. 'Dub' Robinson Stadium
Baton Rouge, La.

1.            (#105) Nazari Urbina (TAMU) def. Whitney Wolf (LSU), 6-3, 6-3
2.            (#11) Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (TAMU) def. Olivia Howlett (LSU), 6-4, 6-1
3.            (#61) Sun Wen (TAMU) def. Kaitlin Burns (LSU), 7-5, 6-1
4.            Lauren Santacroce (TAMU) def. Ebie Wilson (LSU), 2-6, 6-3, 1-0 (11)
5.            Keri Frankenberger (LSU) def. Janine Erasmus (TAMU), 6-4, 6-4
6.            Yvette Vlaar (LSU) def. Sheri Olivier (TAMU), 4-6, 6-2, 6-3

Doubles (A&M wins the point)
1.            Sanchez-Quintanar/Wen (TAMU) def. Frankenberger/Wolf (LSU), 8-5
2.            Erasmus/Urbina (TAMU) def. Howlett/Vlaar (LSU), 8-5
3.            Olivier/Santacroce (TAMU) def. Burns/Wilson (LSU), 7-6 (2)

Order of finish
Doubles: 2, 1, 3
Singles: 1, 3, 5, 1*, 6, 4
* - Clinched match

Team records
Texas A&M:  2-1
LSU: 1-1

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