No. 7 Aggies Complete Perfect Season at Home, Celebrate Seniors with 6-1 Win Over Alabama
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) – The No. 7 Texas A&M women’s tennis team celebrated its seniors and secured a perfect regular-season home record Sunday afternoon, cruising past the Alabama Crimson Tide in a 6-1 effort at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
With their victory, the Maroon & White climb to a historic 24-1 mark through 25 matches, the best record in program history to this point in the season. A&M extends its win streak to 15 consecutive victories, with the team’s lone loss coming to then-No. 4 California during the ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships. The Aggies improve to 10-0 in Southeastern Conference play, the first time any A&M team has recorded 10 consecutive conference victories to start a season in program annals, irrespective of Texas A&M’s conference affiliation. In defeat, Alabama falls to 14-7 overall with a 4-5 record in SEC play.
Sunday afternoon’s win marked A&M’s 18th home victory of the 2022 season, a program record for wins in the Brazos Valley. The Maroon & White completed the home portion of the schedule with an unblemished 18-0 overall record with six of those wins coming during SEC play. The Aggies finish the home slate of the regular season undefeated for the second time in program annals, with the 2014 team securing the only other complete-season shutout of visiting opponents in school history.
Following the match between the Aggies and Crimson Tide, Texas A&M University celebrated a quartet of seniors in a ceremony to honor their hard work and dedication to the 12th Man over the past few years. Isa Di Laura, Tatiana Makarova, Renee McBryde and Katya Townsend each played a significant role in 99 dual match victories, two sweet 16 appearances and the program’s first trip to the SEC Tournament Championship Match during the 2021 season. The Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2022 has already made significant strides this year, becoming the first graduating class to win 10 consecutive SEC matches in program history.
A&M’s final home match of the regular season began per usual in doubles play, with the Aggies breezing by their opponents on the top two courts to seal an early 1-0 team edge. Second-ranked Makarova and Jayci Goldsmith roared past Loudmilla Bencheikh and Anne Marie Hiser in the top-flight contest. The early lead was secured on court two, as No. 48 Carson Branstine and Mary Stoiana notched a 6-1 result against Anna Parkhomenko and Petra Sedlackova. The Maroon & White held a slim 4-3 lead on court three, where McBryde and Gianna Pielet faced off against Kasia and Ola Pitak, but the match went unfinished.
For the first time since defeating Prairie View A&M on January 27, the Aggies came away with all six first sets to start the singles competition. No. 93 Stoiana raced past No. 107 Sedlackova in a 6-2, 6-1 finish to put the Aggies ahead 2-0 just before No. 23 Branstine completed a 6-1, 6-2 thrashing of No. 74 Bencheikh on court one. With the 3-0 lead in hand, No. 29 Makarova completed her final regular season match at the Mitchell Tennis Center as the team’s clinch victor, defeating Ola Pitak in a 6-0, 6-1 result. Goldsmith beat Parkhomenko in straight sets, Pielet fell to Hiser in three and Townsend finished Senior Day off with a three-set victory over Kasia Pitak to complete the 6-1 Aggie win.
With her victories in both singles and doubles play on Sunday, Makarova continues her climb in the Texas A&M women’s tennis record book, reaching the No. 5 position in career singles victories with 96 wins. On the doubles courts, Makarova maintains her No. 3 spot after notching the 103rd doubles victory of her career. Branstine defeated her third consecutive top-100 singles opponent on court one, while the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week in Stoiana maintained her grasp of the team’s singles lead following her straight set win. Stoiana is 26-3 overall in singles play with a stunning 11-2 record against nationally-ranked opposition this year.
No. 7 Texas A&M women’s tennis hits the road for its final three-match road trip of the 2022 regular season, as the Aggies head to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to face the LSU Tigers at the LSU Tennis Complex on Friday, April 8 in a noon (CT) first serve.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Mark Weaver
On the significance of Senior Day and finishing the home slate undefeated…
“I am very happy for our team, that we could get a 6-1 victory for our seniors today is truly something special. I thought that we played excellent doubles. There were a lot of emotions out there and you really never know how things are going to swing. The good news is that we got the win. A lot of our players embraced the Senior Day festivities. It affects everybody in different ways, but at the end of the day, all of our seniors won. That is truly a great thing. Additionally, one of our goals every year is to finish the season undefeated at home in the regular season. We were able to accomplish that today. I am very pleased with the overall performance of this group.”
On looking ahead to A&M’s final road trips…
“We have done a really good job of taking it one match at a time. Our challenge right now is to stay hungry and to continue getting better and better every day. These last three matches can only be played one at a time; that’s the mindset we have to have. We have a tough test on Friday at LSU. Our team is going to get the day off tomorrow to rest up and recover after a well-fought weekend. Then, we’re right back to work on Tuesday before we hit the road to Baton Rouge on Wednesday morning to get sharp on their courts before the weekend.”
Freshman Mary Stoiana
On her performance alongside Carson Branstine in doubles…
“Carson and I really focused on getting our opponents to play with us as best we could, because we knew as soon as we got into the rallies, we would have a great shot at winning each point. We know all of the plays that work so well for us. Both of us did our best to stick to the basics and play simple doubles. Our game plan worked really well today.”
On her singles match and the significance of Senior Day…
“It felt really great to contribute as one of the first points on the board. I really dug in and stayed really focused because I wanted to help contribute to a really special win for our seniors today. They have worked so hard over the past few years and they really deserve to enjoy this day. The emotions were pretty heavy afterwards. It is really sad to know that these four great girls are almost done with their college careers. They have been such great role models for me, and I look forward to following in their footsteps to hopefully become as great as they were here at Texas A&M.”
TENNIS MATCH RESULTS
#7 Texas A&M 6, Alabama 1
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center – Bryan-College Station, Texas
1. #23 Carson Branstine (TAMU) def. #74 Loudmilla Bencheikh (BAMA) 6-1, 6-2
2. #29 Tatiana Makarova (TAMU) def. Ola Pitak (BAMA) 6-0, 6-1
3. #93 Mary Stoiana (TAMU) def. #1
07 Petra Sedlackova (BAMA) 6-2, 6-1
4. Jayci Goldsmith (TAMU) def. Anna Parkhomenko (BAMA) 6-2, 6-4
5. Anne Marie Hiser (BAMA) def. Gianna Pielet (TAMU) 4-6, 6-0, 1-0(0)
6. Katya Townsend (TAMU) def. Kasia Pitak (BAMA) 7-5, 5-7, 1-0(7)
1. #2 Jayci Goldsmith / Tatiana Makarova (TAMU) def. Loudmilla Bencheikh / Anne Marie Hiser (BAMA) 6-1
2. #48 Carson Branstine / Mary Stoiana (TAMU) def. Anna Parkhomenko / Petra Sedlackova (BAMA) 6-1
3. Renee McBryde / Gianna Pielet (TAMU) vs. Kasia Pitak / Ola Pitak (BAMA) 4-3, unfinished
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (3,1,2*,4,5,6)
- Texas A&M climbs to a historic 24-1 mark overall with an impressive 10-0 start to Southeastern Conference play for the first time in program history. The Aggies have won 15 consecutive matches dating back to a 4-3 loss to then-No. 4 California on February 12.
- The Maroon & White hold the No. 7 ranking in the nation according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and are rated No. 6 by the United States Tennis Association.
- In defeat, Alabama falls to 14-7 overall with a 4-5 record in SEC play.
- Sunday afternoon’s win marked A&M’s 18th home victory of the 2022 season, a program record for wins at home. The Maroon & White completed the 2022 home season with an unblemished 18-0 overall record, with the 2014 team securing the only other complete-season shutout of visiting opponents in school history.
- Following the 14th meeting in the all-time series between Texas A&M and Alabama, the Aggies extend their lead to 8-6. The Aggies have never lost to the Crimson Tide in Bryan-College Station, a record dating back to the 2000 dual match season.
- Texas A&M head coach Mark Weaver sees his overall career record improve to 134-56 overall dating back to his hiring as the program’s skipper prior to the 2015-16 academic year.
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