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A&M Gets Impressive Win Against No. 27 Washington

February 19, 2012
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Courtesy: Jim Boyd/TCU Media Relations
(photo: Jim Boyd/TCU Media Relations)
SEATTLE - Despite playing indoors for the first time this season, as well as playing its fifth consecutive match on the road, the 31st-ranked Texas A&M women's tennis team pulled off its most impressive victory of the year with a 4-3 win against No. 27 Washington at the Lloyd Nordstrom Tennis Center.

"I was just telling the girls after the match that I was delighted," A&M first-year head coach Howard Joffe said. "This was always going to be a tough assignment, playing Fresno on super slow courts in California on Friday and then coming to play a very good team indoors under quicker conditions. Our kids really, really, really fought hard today and took it to them, so I'm thrilled with our team. More important than that, I can see all our kids are starting to improve. Our three doubles teams played better doubles than I've seen, and our singles players are starting to play better, so this was definitely a good day for us."

It marked the fourth consecutive victory for the Aggies (4-1), who were going up against their highest ranked opponent of the season. The Huskies, who have three wins against top 50 opponents this season, had their four-match winning streak snapped and fall to 5-2.

A&M began the match by winning all three doubles matches for the third straight time to take a 1-0 lead. Janelle Cuthbertson and Nazari Urbina were first to be finished, reeling off four consecutive games to close out an 8-4 victory over Capucine Gregoire and Andjela Nemcevic at the No. 2 line.

Sheri Oliver and Lauren Santacroce quickly followed as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead against Natali Coronel and Riko Shimizu at the No. 3 court and held off the UW duo, 8-5, to secure the doubles point.

The victor at the No. 1 line came down to a tiebreaker. A&M's Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Wen Sun had their serve broken by UW's Denise Dy and Samantha Smith in the opening game and again at 3-2 but got back on serve at 4-4. The teams then held serve and were tied at 7-7, forcing a tiebreaker. UW won the first three points before A&M countered with four unanswered points. The Huskies tied the score at 4-all before A&M scored three consecutive points to close out the match and complete the sweep.

"Like I've said all along, the whole object of the exercise, as the year moves on, is for the three doubles teams to improve and the six singles players to improve," Joffe said. "Obviously I'm delighted with the win, but it is very evident a) in the results, and b) in the substance of play that our doubles is getting better. But it is no accident. We are working on it hard."

Washington tied the score at 1-1 at the start of singles as Gregoire defeated Santacroce, 6-4, 6-2 at the No. 4 line. Cuthbertson then returned the lead to the Aggies with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Shimizu at the No. 5 line. A&M would keep the lead for the remainder of the contest.

In a battle of undefeated top-20 players, 14th-ranked Sanchez-Quintanar, a junior, disposed of 18th-ranked Dy, 6-3, 6-2 at the No. 1 line to improve to 5-0 in dual matches and give the Aggies a 3-1 lead. It was the first singles loss in a dual match this year for Dy, a senior who was the No. 4 overall seed at the 2011 NCAA Singles Championships, finished last season No. 8 in the final rankings after posting a 20-2 dual mark, including 15-2 at the No. 1 line, and entered today's match with an impressive 39-4 dual match record since the start of her sophomore year.

"That definitely is an awful good win by Cristina," Joffe said. "Denise Dy rarely loses, even against the Stanfords, USCs, UCLAs and all of those top teams, and this year she was 5-0 in dual match play. Cristina beat her 6-3, 6-2 on her own home court. I'm awful proud of Cristina, but like I said before, it is no accident. She is a hard working kid, and it is not shocking that she would win."

Urbina followed with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Smith at the No. 2 line to put the Aggies up, 4-1, and clinch the Aggies' highest ranked win of the season.

With the match already decided, UW picked up a point at the No. 6 line as Julija Lukac built a 5-0 first-set lead over Janine Erasmus and held off a late first-set rally to defeat the freshman, 7-5, 6-1.

In the only match to go three sets, Sun won the first set against Nemcevic, 6-4, at the No. 3 line. UW then took the second set, 6-3, to force a 10-point super tiebreaker to determine the winner. There were four ties and three lead changes before Nemcevic scored three consecutive points to cap a 10-7 win and claim the Huskies' final point.

After five consecutive matches on the road, the Aggies finally make their home season debut Friday, Feb. 24 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. Match time has been changed to 1:30 p.m. The Aggie men's team takes on TCU at 6 p.m. that same day, and one ticket is good for both matches.

"I don't know if there is another team in the country that on Feb. 19 has yet to play a match at home," Joffe said. "I know the girls will be delighted to be sleeping in their own beds, and getting to play on our courts will definitely be fun.

"I've had taste of the (home crowd) at the men's doubleheader, but it is a little nerve-racking and exciting at the same time to be getting to do my first match as the coach at A&M. I am looking forward to it."

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.

No. 31 Texas A&M 4, No. 27 Washington 3
February 19, 2012
Lloyd Nordstrom Tennis Center
Seattle, Wash.

Singles
1.            (#14) Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (TAMU) def. (#18) Denise Dy (UW), 6-3, 6-2
2.            Nazari Urbina (TAMU) def. Samantha Smith (UW), 6-4, 6-2
3.            Andjela Nemcevic (UW) def. (#86) Wen Sun (TAMU), 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (7)
4.            Capucine Gregoire (UW) def. Lauren Santacroce (TAMU), 6-4, 6-2
5.            Janelle Cuthbertson (TAMU) def. Riko Shimizu (UW), 6-3, 6-3
6.            Julija Lukac (UW) def. Janine Erasmus (TAMU), 7-5, 6-1

Doubles (A&M wins the point)
1.            Sanchez-Quintanar/Sun (TAMU) def. Dy/Smith (UW), 8-7 (4)
2.            Cuthbertson/Urbina (TAMU) def. Gregoire/Nemcevic (UW), 8-4
3.            Sheri Olivier/Santacroce (TAMU) def. Natali Coronel/Shimizu (UW), 8-5

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

Team records
Texas A&M:  4-1
Washington: 5-2

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