"Once again out ladies showed a tremendous amount of resolve and tenacity,” A&M coach Howard Joffe said. “Unfortunately this afternoon it wasn't enough against Alabama. Our charge now will be to rest up and get to full strength for the NCAA tournament.”
A&M, which entered the contest riding a five-match win streak, falls to 19-6. A&M had reached the semifinals for the second consecutive year with a 4-3 quarterfinal victory against fourth-ranked Florida, which failed to reach the semifinals for the first time in the 27-year history of the tournament.
Alabama, the tournament’s No. 1 seed after capturing its first SEC regular season title, improves to 22-3 and advances to the finals for the first time in school history. The Crimson Tide will face No. 6 Georgia on Sunday at noon for the tournament championship. The Bulldogs defeated No. 11 Vanderbilt, 4-1, earlier in the day to advance.
Alabama, which had defeated A&M, 4-1, during the regular season but was facing the Aggies for the first time in an SEC tournament contest, won the first two doubles matches to be completed to take a 1-0 lead. The Tides’ seventh-ranked duo of Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe jumped out to a 5-1 lead over 16th-ranked Stefania Hristov and Cristina Stancu en route to an 8-2 victory at the No. 1 line. The loss snapped the Aggie pair’s four-match win streak.
No. 2 doubles was on serve when Alabama’s 41st-ranked pair of Mary Anne Daines and Danielle Spielmann broke to take a 7-5 lead against A&M’s 83rd-ranked tandem of Ines Deheza and Saska Gavrilovska. The Tide then held serve to win the match, 8-5, and secure the doubles point.
No. 3 doubles went unfinished with A&M’s Rutuja Bhosale and Anna Mamalat leading Emily Zabor and Luicelena Perez, 7-3, when play was halted.
A&M’s singles lineup had a different look with Deheza (knee) and Hristov (illness) both missing from the lineup in the same match for the first time this season. Gavrilovska, who took Deheza’s place at the No. 2 singles spot, rose to the occasion and tied the team score at 1-1 by defeating Spielmann, 6-0, 6-4.
The Tide retook the lead, 2-1, as Zabor posted a 6-0, 6-3 victory over A&M freshman Jana McCord, who was playing the No. 5 line for the first time in her career in place of Hristov.
Alabama extended its lead to 3-1 following Perez’s 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 6 singles over freshman Mason Strickland, who was appearing in her third dual match of the season.
Stancu put the Aggies within a point at 3-2 and won her 13th consecutive match after pulling away for a 6-4, 6-3 victory over 55th-ranked Daines at the No. 1 line. But shortly thereafter, Routliffe, ranked No. 73 in singles, clinched the win for Alabama with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Bhosale at the No. 3 line.
Court 4 went unfinished with Mamalat leading the second set, 6-5, against Jansen, who had won the first set, 6-3.
The Aggies now await the NCAA Tennis Selection Show and the announcement of the 64-team NCAA Championship field on Tuesday, April 29. The men’s selection show will begin at 4 p.m., and the women’s selections will be revealed at 4:30 p.m. only on NCAA.com. Last year, A&M was seeded an all-time high No. 3 and reached the championship match for the first time in school history.
Singles and doubles selections will be released on the NCAA website after 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30.
Visit AggieAthletics.com for more information on Texas A&M women’s tennis. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M women’s tennis team on Twitter by following @AggieWTEN or on Facebook at Facebook.com/AggieWomensTennis.
No. 3 Alabama 4, No. 8 Texas A&M 2
SEC Women’s Tennis Tournament - Semifinals
Mizzou Tennis Complex
April 19, 2014
1. #11 Cristina Stancu (TAMU) def. #55 Mary Anne Daines (UA), 6-4, 6-3
2. #63 Saska Gavrilovska (TAMU) def. Danielle Spielmann (UA), 6-0, 6-4
3. #73 Erin Routliffe (UA) def. Rutuja Bhosale (TAMU), 6-4, 6-4
4. Anna Mamalat (TAMU) vs. Maya Jansen (UA), 3-6, 6-5 unfinished
5. Emily Zabor (UA) def. Jana McCord (TAMU), 6-0, 6-3
6. Luicelena Perez (UA) def. Mason Strickland (TAMU), 6-4, 6-2
Doubles (Alabama wins the point)
1. #7 Jansen/Routliffe (UA) def. #16 Hristov/Stancu (TAMU), 8-2
2. #41 Daines/Spielmann (UA) def. #83 Ines Deheza/Gavrilovska (TAMU), 8-5
3. Bhosale/Mamalat (TAMU) vs. #48 Zabor/Perez (UA), 7-3 unfinished
Order of finish
Singles: 2, 5, 6, 1, 3
Doubles: 1, 2
Texas A&M: 19-6