CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The 13th-ranked Texas A&M women's tennis team capped a successful day of Aggie athletics, defeating No. 12 Virginia, 4-1 in the consolations of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship at the Boar's Head Sports Club. It marked the fourth top-20 win of the day for the Texas A&M athletic department as earlier in the day the men's tennis team upset No. 4 Ohio State, women's basketball topped No. 15 South Carolina and softball defeated No. 19 UCLA.
The win against the Cavaliers (1-3) marked the women's tennis team's second consecutive win against a higher ranked opponent. A&M, which knocked off No. 11 Texas on Saturday, finishes with a 2-1 tournament record and improves to 4-1 overall.
"It was a very good weekend for the Aggies, especially given the inexperienced nature of our team," A&M head coach Howard Joffe said. "We have a very talented group, but we have two first-semester freshmen and two other freshmen. With all the new folks, it's been a real challenge to sort of get the train out of the proverbial station, so when I reflect on the weekend, it really is a great achievement for our group to win two out the three matches we played against some awful stiff competition."
In the first-ever meeting between the Aggies and Cavaliers on the tennis court, A&M took the early lead by winning two of the three doubles matches. A&M won in a top-10 showdown at the No. 1 line, where seventh-ranked Stefania Hristov and Cristina Stancu defeated 10th-ranked Stephanie Nauta and Li Xi, 8-5. Virginia quickly followed with an 8-5 win at No. 2 as Maci Epstein and Erin Vierra topped A&M's Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Wen Sun.
All focus then turned to the No. 3 court, where Ines and Paula Deheza, twin sisters from Bolivia who are in their first semester at Texas A&M, were playing a tiebreaker for the third consecutive night. Virginia double faulted on the first point of the tiebreaker, and A&M went on to build a 3-0 lead. The Aggies took their largest lead at 5-1 and again at 6-2 following another double fault. A&M then won the next point to clinch the victory and take a 1-0 lead.
A&M won first sets on four of six courts in singles, but Virginia tied the score at 1-1 as Epstein finished off 82nd-ranked Sun, 6-2, 6-2 at the No. 4 position. It would be the only point the Cavaliers would tally.
Hristov put the Aggies ahead, 2-1 with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Tomljanovic at No. 6. Stancu, ranked No. 45 in singles, led her entire match as she knocked off 44th-ranked Xi, 6-3, 6-1, at the No. 2 line to put A&M up, 3-1.
The team victory was then clinched at the No. 1 line. In a match-up between top-five ranked singles players, third-ranked Sanchez-Quintanar held off No. 4 Elbaba, 6-1, 6-3, avenging a straight-set loss to Elbaba in the opening match of the Riviera All-American Championship in the fall and completing the Aggies' 4-1 victory.
Urbina had split sets against 43rd-ranked Nauta at No. 3 singles, 6-4, 4-6, and Ines Deheza held a 5-2 second-set lead over Vierra after dropping the first set, 6-4, when the victory was clinched and play was stopped.
"Obviously getting the win against UVA on their home court, they are an awful good team, and any scoreboard watcher will tell you it is a wonderful thing," Joffe said. "The girls and I are obviously very excited, but that aside, today was definitely the day where I saw our team play with the most passion, aggression and enthusiasm that I have seen all season. That down the road will be worth its weight in gold. I saw all three doubles teams really getting after it and playing with passion. I saw all six singles players really giving it a great effort and engaged mentally and obviously physically in the match. This match more than anything also is to me a good sign that the team is starting to perform better."
The Aggies will be tested again soon as they have a meeting against No. 16 Michigan, Saturday at 11 a.m. (CT) in Ann Arbor. It will be A&M's fourth consecutive contest against a top 20 opponent. The teams last met in the second round of the 2012 NCAA tournament, with the host Wolverines pulling out a narrow 4-3 victory over the Aggies to advance to the round of 16.
"We are going to have a very short week getting back to College Station and then right off to Michigan," Joffe said. "They are an indoor team that has performed very well here, and we are going to absolutely have our work cut out for us. But the good competition hopefully will hopefully toughen us up.
Live scoring will be available on AggieAthletics.com. 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: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Aggie-Womens-Tennis/143874782434654
No. 13 Texas
A&M 4, No. 12 Virginia 1
ITA National Team Indoors (Consolation)
February 10, 2013
Boar's Head Sports Club
1. #3 Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (TAMU) def. # Julia Elbaba (UVA), 6-1, 6-3
2. #45 Cristina Stancu (TAMU) def.#44 Li Xi (UVA), 6-3, 6-1
3. Nazari Urbina (TAMU) vs. #43 Stephanie Nauta (UVA), 6-4, 4-6 unfinished
4. Maci Epstein (UVA) def. #82 Wen Sun (TAMU), 6-2, 6-2
5. Ines Deheza (TAMU) vs. Erin Vierra (UVA), 4-6, 5-2 unfinished
6. Stefania Hristov (TAMU) def. Hana Tomljanovic (UVA), 6-3, 6-4
Doubles (Texas A&M wins the point)
1. #7 Hristov/Stancu (TAMU) def. Nauta/XI (UVA), 8-5
2. Epstein/Vierra (UVA) def. Sanchez-Quintanar/Sun (TAMU), 8-5
3. I. Deheza/Paula Deheza (TAMU) def. Elbaba/Tomljanovic (UVA), 8-7 (2)
Doubles: 1, 2, 3
Singles: 4, 6, 2, 1
Texas A&M: 4-1