"The match came down to one or two points, and unfortunately for us, Baylor came out on top," A&M first-year head coach Howard Joffe said. "It came down to the wire, and I was very proud of the way we fought to the very end. Baylor has played a very strong schedule with 8-10 high ranked opponents, and they were seasoned for the close match. Sometimes tough losses like this can make us stronger and keep us hungry. We will take away the positives and keep working hard, and that will pay off in the end."
The Aggies, who entered the match having won their last 13 matches, drop to 13-2 overall and 4-1 in Big 12 Conference matches. Baylor improves to 18-5, 5-1.
A&M took the early lead, winning the doubles point for the 14th consecutive match. Janelle Cuthbertson and Nazari Urbina were first off the court and extended their winning streak to 12 with an 8-5 victory over Diana Nakic and Sona Novakova at the No. 2 line. The Aggie duo improved to 12-2, all at No. 2
Sheri Olivier and Lauren Santacroce clinched the point for the Aggies. Just like their teammates at the No. 2 line, Olivier and Santacroce never trailed in an 8-5 victory over Nicole Kosakowski and Jordaan Sanford at the No. 3 line to improve to 12-2 and give A&M a 1-0 lead.
Baylor's 22nd-ranked duo of Ema Burgic and Nina Secerbegovic prevented a doubles sweep by the Aggies as they held off a furious comeback by Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Wen Sun at the No. 1 court. The Lady Bears jumped out to a 5-1 lead before A&M charged back to get within 6-5. Baylor then broke serve to take a 7-5 lead and went on to win, 8-5.
Baylor, the highest ranked team A&M has faced this season, tied the score at the start of singles as Burgic topped Santacroce, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 4. The Lady Bears then took the lead, 2-1, as Sanford saddled Cuthbertson with a 6-3, 6-3 loss at No. 5.
In a match-up of the top two players in the league, seventh-ranked Sanchez-Quintanar improved to 15-0 in dual matches, including 5-0 in conference play, with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over No. 13 Nakic at the top of the lineup to even the team score at 2-2.
The remaining three matches would be decided in three sets, with the final two coming down to third-set tiebreakers. The Lady Bears would eventually win all three matches.
Secerbegovic, ranked No. 24, dropped her first set against No. 101 Urbina, 6-2, at the No. 2 line, but pulled away from 4-4 ties in each of the next two sets to win, 6-4, 6-4, and put Baylor ahead, 3-2.The loss was Urbina's first in conference play, and it snapped the junior's overall 10-match winning streak.
Aggie freshman Janine Erasmus didn't win a game in the first set against Megan Horter at No. 6 but evened the match with a 6-2 win in the second set. Erasmus carried the momentum into the final set, taking a 4-0 lead before Horter made a comeback of her own. Horter tied the set at 5-5 and fought off two match points to again tie the score at 6-6 and force a tiebreaker. The tiebreaker was tied at 3-3 before Horter won the next four points to win the match and clinch the winning point for the Lady Bears.
In the last match standing, Sun had her nine-match winning streak snapped and she suffered her first conference loss as 46th-ranked Novakova broke away from a 5-5 tie to win the first set, 7-5, at the No. 3 line. Sun, ranked 73rd, cruised to a 6-0 second-set victory, but Novakova would come back in the next frame, putting the third set back on serve and evening the score at 6-6 to force a tiebreaker. With Sun starting to cramp, Novakova went on to win the tiebreaker, 7-2, to close out the marathon match.
The Aggies return home Monday to play host to No. 18 Notre Dame in a non-conference match. It is part of a doubleheader with the men's team, which also will be hosting the Fighting Irish.
First serve is at 6 p.m. at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center, and one ticket is good for both matches. In addition, it will be "Extra Stamp Day," and every 12th Man Rewards member will receive an extra stamp or scan for attending the matches.
No. 12 Baylor 5, No. 21 Texas A&M
April 5, 2012
Hurd Tennis Center
1. (#7) Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (TAMU) def. (#13) Diana Nakic (BU), 6-4, 6-3
2. (#24) Nina Secerbegovic (BU) def. (#101) Nazari Urbina (TAMU), 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
3. (#46) Sona Novakova (BU) def. (#73) Wen Sun (TAMU), 7-5, 0-6, 7-6 (2)
4. Ema Burgic (BU) def. Lauren Santacroce (TAMU), 6-2, 6-2
5. Jordaan Sanford (BU) def. Janelle Cuthbertson (TAMU), 6-3, 6-3
6. Megan Horter (BU) def. Janine Erasmus (TAMU), 6-0, 2-6, 7-6 (3)
Doubles (A&M wins the point)
1. (#22) Burgic/Secerbegovic (BU) def. Sanchez-Quintanar/Sun (TAMU), 8-5
2. Cuthbertson/Urbina (TAMU) def. Nakic/Novakova (BU), 8-5
3. Sheri Olivier/Santacroce (TAMU) def. Nicole Kosakowski/Sanford (BU), 8-5
Order of finish
Doubles: 2, 3, 1
Singles: 4, 5, 1, 2, 6*, 3
* - Clinched match
Texas A&M: 13-2, 4-1 Big 12
Baylor: 18-5, 5-1 Big 12