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Texas A&M Defeats Texas, 4-2

February 09, 2014
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The No. 7 Texas A&M women’s tennis team pulled off a thrilling 4-2 victory over 17th-ranked Texas tonight to close out the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Team Indoor Championship at the Boar’s Head Sports Club.

A&M had several clutch come-from-behind performances throughout the contest to get the victory and improve to 4-2. Texas falls to 3-4.

"I feel like tonight's win can be chalked up to a team with tremendous character and fight with a smattering of good fortune, too.” A&M head coach Howard Joffe said.

The race to the doubles point turned into a nail biter, with the Aggies aiming to get the crucial point for the first time in four matches. A&M’s 14th-ranked Stefania Hristov and Cristina Stancu had given the Aggies an early edge as they began the contest by cruising to a 6-0 victory over 21st-ranked Breaunna Addison and Pippa Horn at the No. 1 line, avenging a loss to the Texas duo in the finals of the ITA Texas Regional last fall.

The Longhorns, however, evened the race to the doubles point as Ratnika Batra and Lina Padegimaite won three straight games to close out a 6-2 win against A&M’s Saska Gavrilovska and Anna Mamalat at No. 3.

With two matches already decided and A&M’s Rutuja Bhosale and Ines Deheza trailing Texas’ Elizabeth Begley and Neda Koprcina, 5-2, the Aggie tandem reeled off five consecutive games, not dropping a single point in the final game to cap a 7-5 victory at the No. 2 line and give Texas A&M a 1-0 lead.

"Our doubles play this week has been not quite as bad as our 0-3 record would suggest,” Joffe said. “Today we were on the brink of 0-4 for the week, and Rutuja and Ines came back and had one of the more amazing comebacks I have seen in the doubles point. They deserve a lot of credit for the team win."

It wouldn’t be the only clutch come-from-behind performance of the evening.

Begley knotted the team score at 1-1 at the start of singles with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Mamalat at the No. 3 line, but Hristov put A&M ahead, 2-1, with a 6-3, 6-1 victory at No. 2.

In a battle of top-25 players, 14th-ranked Stancu got off to a slow start and trailed No. 22 Addison 4-1 in the first set at No. 1 singles but rallied to win the next five games to win the set 6-4. Stancu extended her streak to 11 straight games to close out a 6-4, 6-0 victory that gave A&M a 3-1 lead.

Koprcina brought the Longhorns back within 3-2 with a win at the No 4 line. After splitting sets with Deheza, 6-1, 3-6, Koprcina pulled away for a 10-6 victory in the third-set super tiebreaker to get the win.

After a slow start, Gavrilovska overcame a 5-2 deficit to win her first set, 7-5, against 77th-ranked Batra at the No. 2 line. The Aggie freshman, however, once against got off to a slow beginning in the second set as Batra built a 3-0 lead.

Texas also had momentum at No. 6 singles, where Padegimaite had topped A&M freshman Jana McCord, 6-4, in the first set at No. 6. The two battled back and forth in the second set and went to a tiebreaker after the score was knotted at 6-all. Padegimaite had scored the first four points of the tiebreaker and was only three points away from tying the team score at 3-3, but McCord would score the next four points to tie the score, 4-4. The set and match at No. 6 would go unfinished with action being stopped after Gavrilovska competed a come-from-behind victory to clinch the winning point.

After dropping the first three games of the second set, Gavrilovska got on track and won four of the next five games to tie the set 4-4. The score also was tied at 5-all before Gavrilovska won the next two games to get the 7-5 second-set victory and clinch the winning point.

"I feel like our slow start in the singles has a lot to do with a group that has been away from home for nine days,” Joffe said. “The players are understandably tired and worn out. And the thing that I am so impressed about is the ability of the team to fight and rally back for another excellent win."

After the long trip, the Aggies will have a week off from competition before returning to the courts Sunday, Feb. 16 to play host to Sam Houston State. The match against the Bearkats begins at 1 p.m. at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.

 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. 7 Texas A&M 4, No. 17 Texas 2
ITA National Team Indoor Championship (Consolation)
Boar’s Head Sports Club Chapel Hill, N.C.
February 9, 2014

Singles
1.     #14 Cristina Stancu (TAMU) def. #22 Breaunna Addison (UT), 6-4, 6-0
2.     Saska Gavrilovska (TAMU) def. #77 Ratnika Batra (UT), 7-5, 7-5
3.     Elizabeth Begley (UT) def. Anna Mamalat (TAMU), 6-0, 6-1
4.     Neda Koprcina (UT) def. Ines Deheza (TAMU), 6-1, 3-6, 1-0 (10-6)
5.     Stefania Hristov (TAMU) def. Pippa Horn (UT), 6-3, 6-1
6.     Jana McCord (TAMU) vs. Lina Padegimaite (UT), 4-6, 6-6 unfinished

Doubles (TAMU wins the point)
1.     #22 Hristov/Stancu (TAMU) def.  No. 21 Addison/Horn (UT), 6-0
2.     #51 Rutuja Bhosale/Deheza (TAMU) def. Begley/Koprcina (UT), 7-5
3.     Batra/Padegimaite (UT) def. Gavrilovska/Mamalat (TAMU), 6-2

Order of finish
Doubles:  1, 3, 2
Singles: 3, 5, 1, 4, 2

Team records
Texas A&M: 4-2
Texas: 3-4

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