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No. 10 Seed Texas A&M Faces No. 7 North Carolina in NCAA Sweet 16

May 14, 2014
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

2014 NCAA WOMEN’S TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP INFORMATION
·         Dan Magill Tennis Complex, Athens, Ga., Univ. of Georgia host
·         Feild Courts (Lower), McWhorter Courts (Upper), Hopkins Courts (Indoor),
·         Round of 16, Thursday, May 15: No. 10 seed Texas A&M vs. No. 7 seed North Carolina, 9 a.m. (8 a.m. CT)
·         Quarterfinal, Saturday, May 17, 9 a.m. (8 a.m. CT): Texas A&M-North Carolina winner vs. No. 2 Alabama-No. 17-32 Notre Dame winner
·         Semifinals, Sunday, May 19, 12 p.m. (11 a.m. CT)
·         Championship, Monday, May 20, 1 p.m. (12 p.m. CT)
·         Tournament Central: http://www.georgiadogs.com/sports/m-tennis/spec-rel/ncaa-2014.html
·         Twitter: @NCAATennis14; @AggieWTEN, #NCAAMWT

TOURNAMENT PREVIEW
·         Texas A&M (21-6) received a No. 10 seed in the 64-team NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championship bracket and defeated Stony Brook, 4-0, and 23rd-ranked Texas, 4-2, in the first two rounds played at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas, to advance to the round of 16.
·         North Carolina blanked both Virginia Commonwealth and Georgia State, 4-0, in the first two rounds in Chapel Hill, N.C., to advance.
·         The Texas A&M-North Carolina winner will face the winner between No. 2 seed Alabama and No. 17-32 seed Notre Dame in the quarterfinals at noon (11 a.m. CT) on Saturday, May 17.

TEXAS A&M TOURNAMENT NOTES
·         Texas A&M, which is making its 15th consecutive and 20th overall appearance in the NCAA Championship, is appearing in the round of 16 for only the third time since the bracket expanded to 64 teams.
·         Last year, the Aggies received a school-record No. 3 seed and advanced to the championship finals for the first time. A&M finished runner-up, narrowly falling to 17-time NCAA champion Stanford, 4-3, in Urbana, Ill.
·         The Aggies’ No. 10 seed marks the second consecutive year and the third time overall A&M has been seeded in the 64-team field. In 2004, A&M was No. 12 and advanced to the round of 16, and the Aggies were an all-time high No. 3 in 2013 and advanced to the championship match.
·         This was the second consecutive year and sixth time overall Texas A&M served as host of an NCAA match (2014, 2013, 2011, 2004, 2003, 1996). The Aggies, who went 13-0 overall in home matches this season, are 9-3 all-time in home NCAA tournament matches and 19-19 overall in NCAA tournament history.
·         Texas A&M is 13-6 against the 2014 64-team tournament field and 5-5 against teams that have reached the round of 16, including a 4-3 victory against then third-ranked North Carolina on Feb. 4 in Chapel Hill, N.C.
·         Texas A&M was one of 11 teams representing the Southeastern Conference in the 64-team field and one of five SEC teams to be seeded. Georgia, the SEC tournament champion and the league’s automatic qualifier, is the No. 1 seed. SEC regular-season champion Alabama is the No. 2 seed, and Florida and Vanderbilt are the No. 8 and 9 seeds, respectively, and all five seeded SEC teams have reached the round of 16. Other SEC teams that received a tournament berth are Auburn, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Tennessee.

 PROJECTED TEXAS A&M LINEUP

                                                                   Overall    Dual      SEC

1 Singles:  #10 Cristina Stancu (Sr., Constanta, Romania)      33-7    17-3     8-0
2 Singles: #84 Ines Deheza (So., Santa Cruz, Bolivia) 12-12    8-5      2-3
3 Singles: #56 Saska Gavrilovska (Fr., Vrsac, Serbia) 20-7      16-4    7-2
4 Singles:  Rutuja Bhosale (Fr., Shrirampur, India)    15-11    11-8    5-3
5 Singles: Stefania Hristov (So., Iasi, Romania)          19-13    14-7    6-4
6 Singles: Anna Mamalat (So., Philadelphia, Pa.)      14-16    7-11    3-4
Also available: Mason Strickland (Fr., Dallas, Texas)             6-10    1-2       0-1

1 Doubles: #14 Hristov/Stancu                     24-9       13-4      7-1
2 Doubles: #79 Deheza/Gavrilovska            8-3         8-3        6-1
3 Doubles: Bhosale/Mamalat                      11-4       10-3      5-3

 SERIES RECORD
·         North Carolina owns a 7-3 lead in the all-time series against the Aggies dating back to the initial meeting in 1985.
·         This will be the first meeting between the two teams in an NCAA Championship.
·         North Carolina is 2-0 against the Aggies at neutral sites.
·         Texas A&M won the most recent meeting, 4-3, on Feb. 4, 2014, at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center (Indoor) in Chapel Hill, N.C. The win snapped a five-match losing skid against the Tar Heels.
·         Most recent meeting results:
      No. 7 Texas A&M 4, No. 3 North Carolina 3 (Feb. 4, 2014, Chapel Hill, N.C.)
      Singles
     
1. #2 Jamie Loeb (UNC) def. #14 Cristina Stancu (A&M), 6-1, 6-0
      2. Saska Gavrilovska (A&M) def. #5 Hayley Carter (UNC), 0-6, 6-2, 1-0 (12-10)
      3. Caroline Price (UNC) def. Anna Mamalat (A&M), 6-1, 6-2
      4. Ines Deheza (A&M) def. #118 Ashley Dai (UNC), 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-6)
      5. Stefania Hristov (A&M) def. Kate Vialle (UNC), 6-1, 6-0
      6. Rutuja Bhosale (A&M) def. Tessa Lyons (UNC), 6-3, 6-3

      Doubles (UNC wins the point)
      1. #22 Hristov/Stancu (A&M) vs. #10 Whitney Kay/Price (UNC), 5-3 unfinished
      2. #12 Carter/Loeb (UNC) def. #51 Bhosale/I. Deheza (A&M), 6-4
      3. #42 Laura Slater/Vialle def. Gavrilovska/Mamalat (A&M), 6-4

      Order of finish: Doubles: 3, 2; Singles: 3, 5, 1, 2, 6, 4*

NORTH CAROLINA NOTES
·         Seventh-ranked and No. 7-seeded North Carolina (26-5) advanced to the round of 16 by defeating Virginia Commonwealth and Georgia State by identical 4-0 scores in the first two rounds.
·         The Tar Heels, competing in their 16th overall and 16th consecutive NCAA Championship tournament, are 31-15 all-time in NCAA tournament matches.
·         In 2013, North Carolina was the NCAA’s No. 2 seed but fell in the quarterfinals, 4-1, to No. 7 seed UCLA, which lost to Texas A&M, 4-3, in the semifinals.
·         The Tar Heels’ best finish was a semifinal appearance in 2010.
·         Tar Heel freshman Jamie Loeb is the top ranked singles player in the nation, and freshman teammate Hayley Carter is No. 5 in the nation in singles. Loeb is 47-2 overall, including 28-1 in dual matches. Carter is 44-6 overall, including 23-2 in dual matches, with one of the losses coming at the hands of Aggie freshman Saska Gavrilovska on Feb. 4 in Chapel Hill.
·         Other ranked singles players are Caroline Price (59), Tessa Lyons (92) and Ashley Dai (105).
·         In doubles, Carter and Loeb are No. 3 in the nation with a 30-3 overall mark, including 16-0 in dual matches.
·         Price and Whitney Kay are No. 13 and Laura Slater and Kate Vialle are No. 55 in doubles.
·         Head Coach Brian Kalbas (Notre Dame, ‘89) is 263-82 in his 11th season as head coach of the Tar Heels and 477-167 in the 22nd season of his head coaching career.

RECENT RESULTS
Texas A&M opened the 2014 NCAA Championship by hosting Stony Brook and No. 23 Texas in first two rounds at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas.  After riding out a near 5-hour rain delay the Aggies disposed of Stony Brook, 4-0, to advance to the second round for the third consecutive year. A&M was then paired up against former Big 12 foe Texas. After winning the doubles point, A&M took a 2-0 lead following Stefania Hristov’s straight-set win at No. 5 singles. Texas tied the score at 2-2 with wins at the Nos. 4 and 2 lines before A&M pulled away for the win. Anna Mamalat won four straight games to close out a 6-4, 6-3 win at the No. 6 line, and 10th-ranked Cristina Stancu capped the Aggies’ victory with a 6-2, 6-3 win over 12th-ranked Breaunna Addison at the top of the lineup. It marked Stancu’s highest ranked win of her career.

 TEXAS A&M IN THE ITA RANKINGS
·         Texas A&M has been ranked between No. 5 and No. 11 throughout the spring season.
·         The Aggies were No. 7 in the preseason ranking released Jan. 2. It is the highest preseason ranking in school history.
·         A&M reached a season-high No. 5 ranking on April 22, jumping three spots following a 4-3 victory over No. 4 Florida in the quarterfinals of the SEC Championship.
·         Despite not playing a match since the victory against the Gators, A&M dropped four spots to No. 9 entering the NCAA Championship.
·         Senior Cristina Stancu, who entered the NCAA tournament ranked No. 10 in singles, was twice ranked a career-high No. 8 in singles (April 8 and April 22), making her the second highest ranked individual in A&M history. Two-time All-American Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar holds the school record with a No. 3 ranking.
·         Stancu and partner Stefania Hristov were No. 14 in doubles entering the tournament, two spots below their dual season-high No. 12 ranking on April 22.
·         Freshman Saska Gavrilovska, who has been ranked as high as No. 47 in singles, enters the tournament No. 56. She also is No. 79 in doubles with partner Ines Deheza, who is a career-high No. 84 in singles.

AGGIES GARNER ITA TEXAS REGION HONORS
·         Texas A&M collected four of the eight ITA Texas Region awards. The Aggies swept the ITA Texas Region coaches honors with Howard Joffe receiving head coach of the year laurels and Mark Weaver earning the region’s assistant coach of the year accolades. Also honored were Cristina Stancu and Saska Gavrilovska, who were named ITA Texas Region senior player of the year and rookie player of the year, respectively.
·         All four will now be considered for national honors, to be announced at the ITA Division I national awards luncheon Tuesday, May 20, in Athens, Ga., where the Division I NCAA Championships are being competed.

THREE AGGIES INVITED TO NCAA INDIVIDUALS
·         Texas A&M senior Cristina Stancu became the sixth player in Aggie women’s tennis history to earn ITA All-America honors, having garnered the distinction after receiving a top 16 seed in the NCAA Singles Championship 64-player field, announced by the NCAA on April 30.
·         Saska Gavrilovska also was selected to compete in the singles tournament as an at-large entry. She becomes only the second freshman ever selected to represent Texas A&M in the prestigious event, joining four-time NCAA singles participant Nazari Urbina, who completed her stellar Aggie career last year.
·         In addition, the Romanian duo of Stancu and sophomore Stefania Hristov will be competing in the 32-team NCAA Doubles Championship after receiving an at-large berth for the second consecutive year.
·         Singles and doubles competitions will be conducted May 21-26 at the University of Georgia’s Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., following the conclusion of the team championship (May 15-20). All matches will be the best of three sets. Regular scoring and a 12-point tiebreaker at six games all will be used for all matches.

PASSING SHOTS
·         A&M is one of five teams to have both its men’s and women’s tennis teams in the top 10 in the ITA rankings, joining Georgia, North Carolina UCLA and Virginia.
·         With a 21-6 record, A&M has posted its second consecutive 20-plus win season. The last time A&M posted back-to-back 20-plus wins was 2003-04
·         Texas A&M went 13-0 in home matches and has won 17 straight home matches dating to last year.
·         This is the third time A&M has been seeded in the NCAA tournament. The Aggies were the No. 12 seed in 2004 and advanced to the Round of 16. Last year they were No. 3 and advanced to the finals.
·         A&M is 14-6 against ranked opponents, including three top-10 wins.
·         The Aggies are a combined 77-44 in singles and 35-17 in doubles in dual matches.
·         Cristina Stancu, A&M’s lone senior, is riding a team-leading and a career-high 15-match win streak in singles.
·         Stancu, who went 8-0 at No. 1 singles in SEC matches, is 33-7 overall, tying for fifth in the A&M season records for most wins.
·         Saska Gavrilovska posted the highest ranked win by a freshman in A&M history, defeating fifth-ranked Haley Carter of North Carolina, 0-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10) to help the Aggies defeat the No. 3 Tar Heels, 4-3, on Feb. 4, in Chapel Hill.
·         The Aggies are 17-0 when winning the doubles point.
·         A&M is 11-0 when No. 2 doubles wins and 11-0 when No. 3 doubles wins.

TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH HOWARD JOFFE
    Howard Joffe (pronounced joff-ee), one of the brightest young collegiate tennis coaches in the country, is 66-16 (.805) in his third season at A&M and 114-54 (.679) in the seventh season of his head coaching career. He has rapidly transformed the Aggies from pretender to contender, and in 2013 the Maroon and White shocked the nation by reaching the NCAA Championship finals for the first time. A&M, whose previous best finish in the NCAAs was a round of 16 appearance in 2004, narrowly fell to 17-time national champion Stanford, 4-3, in the championship match. The Aggies concluded their historic 2013 campaign ranked an all-time high No. 3 in the final team rankings with a 26-4 record, marking the most wins in school history.

    This season, Joffe has directed the Aggies to three top-10 victories, including a 4-3 win at No. 3 North Carolina on Feb. 4, marking the highest ranked win in school history. A&M also knocked off No. 4 Florida, 4-3, in the quarterfinals of the SEC Championship, as the Gators failed to reach the semifinals for the first time in the 27-year history of the tournament.

    Joffe, the 2014 Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year, has had a player earn All-America honors in each of his three season, including the most recent recipient, Cristina Stancu, a 2014 ITA All-America by virtue of her top 16 seed in the ITA Singles Championship. Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar, who followed Joffe to A&M from Maryland, concluded her stellar two-year career in 2013 the most heralded player in Aggie women’s tennis history, becoming the program’s first two-time All-American. After being ranked an A&M all-time high No. 3 in the ITA preseason singles rankings in January 2013, the senior was No. 5 in the final rankings, the highest final ranking in school history.

    In 2013, Texas A&M’s first season as a member of the powerful Southeastern Conference, Joffe’s Aggies experienced unprecedented success during the regular season which resulted in A&M receiving an all-time high No. 3 seed in the 64-team tournament. Joffe had directed the Aggies to their then-highest ranked win in school history by knocking off two-time defending national champion and fourth-ranked Florida, 4-3, snapping the Gators’ 45-match winning streak against SEC teams in conference regular-season, SEC Tournament and NCAA Championship matches combined. The statement win was part of a 13-match win streak, tying the all-time school record for consecutive victories first accomplished in Joffe’s debut season as the Aggie skipper. A&M would go on to win the SEC Western Division title and stake claim to a share of the SEC regular-season crown with the Gators and Georgia. It was A&M’s third regular-season conference title in school history and the first since 2003.

    The Aggies also produced numerous highlights in 2012, during Joffe’s inaugural season at Texas A&M. Although the team lost, 4-3, to Ole Miss in Joffe’s debut, the Aggies rebounded with a school-record 13 consecutive victories, obliterating the previous record of nine straight wins. The Aggies would later defeat No. 6 Texas (April 17, 2012), which marked A&M’s highest ranked win since defeating No. 5 USC in 2004, when Joffe served as an assistant for the Women of Troy.

    The Aggies went on to tie for second in the Big 12 Conference behind the stellar play of Sanchez-Quintanar. The junior went 9-0 in conference matches and 24-1 in dual matches all at the No. 1 line and became the first player in Big 12 history to garner both Big 12 Player of the Year and Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors in the same season. Sanchez-Quintanar would go on to become the first Joffe-coached player to earn ITA All-America honors after receiving a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Singles Championship. She would also become only the second player in Texas A&M history to reach the quarterfinals of the prestigious tournament.

    The Aggies finished the 2012 season 19-6 and ranked No. 17 in the final ITA rankings after advancing to the NCAA second round. It was A&M’s first top-20 final ranking since tying for 16th in 2004 and its third highest final ranking in school history.

            Joffe played college tennis at Pepperdine from 1990-92 and led the Wave to three consecutive West Coast Conference titles. He was an ITA All-American in 1992, the same year he was the 1992 WCC singles champion and reached the semifinals of the NCAA Singles Championship. After three years (1992-94) on the professional tour, Joffe began his coaching career in South Africa. In 2002, he was hired as the women’s assistant coach at perennial power USC, where he finished his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2006. The two-time ITA West Region Assistant Coach of the Year and a runner-up for the 2006 national award, Joffe left USC in 2007 to be the head coach at Miami (Ohio). In his second season, Joffe was named the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year after leading the RedHawks to a 16-7 record and an appearance in the NCAA tournament. He then left to become the head coach at Maryland, where he led the Terrapins to an NCAA tournament berth in 2011.

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.

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