“The win today is a very big win for us, especially when you consider we were without one of our top players,” A&M head coach Howard Joffe said. “In the context of rankings and things people tend to worry about, it’s a great victory for us. For such a young team, we were very well composed. We fought hard. It’s a horrible cliché, but we are getting better every single day. Hopefully matches like these will keep us in good stead as the heat gets turned up.”
The Aggies jumped out to a quick start in doubles play, claiming the early 1-0 advantage with wins on courts two and three. The duo of Rutuja Bhosale and Anna Mamalat rolled through the Commodores team of Frances Altick and Sydney Campbell, 8-2, at the No. 3 line. Trailing 6-5 on court two, the tandem of Ines Deheza and Saska Gavrilovska broke the serve of Vanderbilt’s 50th-ranked pair of Ashleigh Antal and Marie Casares on their way to claiming the final three games for the 8-6 win.
A&M expanded its lead to 2-0 when 15th-ranked Cristina Stancu defeated 60th-ranked Georgina Sellyn 6-4, 6-0 at the No. 1 line. The senior struggled early in the first set, trailing 2-0, but hit her stride and surrendered only two games for the remainder of the match.
The Aggies pushed the lead to 3-0 after Gavrilovska ousted 107th-ranked Campbell in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. The 57th-ranked player leads the Maroon and White in singles victories with eight and improved to 3-1 in SEC play.
Vanderbilt would cut into A&M’s lead to swing the momentum of the match. Freshman Jana McCord’s late surge came up just short at the No. 6 line, falling to Casares, 6-2, 7-5. Sophomore Stefania Hristov dropped her match at the No. 3 line to Frances Altick, 6-2, 6-3, pushing the overall score to 3-2 in favor of A&M.
After dropping the first set, 2-6, Mamalat, the 118th-ranked player for the Aggies was able to break No. 81 Courtney Colton’s serve early in the second set to gain the advantage, which would prove to be the deciding factor in the frame as the sophomore from A&M forced a deciding third set. With the match on her shoulders, Mamalat cruised to a 6-1 victory in the third set to secure the match win for the Aggies.
“More than anything, I was proud of our fight,” Joffe said. “We lost four-of-six first sets in singles and we kept fighting. We remained composed. Anna was a perfect example of that. She kept fighting and ran out the winner quite comfortably in the third set. I am very proud of her and proud of our team.”
The women’s tennis team will be in action again on Friday when it welcomes Arkansas for an SEC showdown at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. First serve is slated for 5 p.m. To learn more about the team, visit AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieWTEN on Twitter.
No. 10 Texas A&M 4, No. 7 Vanderbilt 2
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
College Station, Texas
March 9, 2014
1. #15 Cristina Stancu (TAMU) def. #60 Georgina Sellyn (VU) 6-4, 6-0
2. #57 Saska Gavrilovska (TAMU) def. #107 Sydney Campbell (VU) 6-3, 6-3
3. Frances Altick (VU) def. Stefania Hristov (TAMU) 6-2, 6-3
4. #118 Anna Mamalat (TAMU) def. #81 Courtney Colton (VU) 2-6, 6-4, 6-1
5. Rutuja Bhosale (TAMU) vs. Lauren Mira (VU) 5-7, 5-4 (unfinished)
6. Mari Casares (VU) def. Jana McCord (TAMU) 6-2, 7-5
Doubles (TAMU wins the point)
1. Hristov/Stancu (TAMU) vs. #36 Mira/Colton (VU) 4-6 (unfinished)
2. Deheza/Gavrilovska (TAMU) def. #50 Antal/Casares (VU) 8-6
3. Bhosale/Mamalat (TAMU) def. Altick/Campbell (VU) 8-2
Order of finish
Singles: 1, 2, 6, 3, 4
Doubles: 3, 2
Texas A&M: 9-3, 3-1 SEC
Vanderbilt: 10-4, 3-1 SEC