COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M women's tennis team returns to Southeastern Conference play Friday as the third-ranked Aggies take on LSU in Baton Rouge. First serve is at 3:30 p.m. at W. T. "Dub" Robinson Stadium.
A&M, 11-1 overall and 4-0 in SEC matches, is riding a nine-match win streak after defeating No. 47 Virginia, 4-2, during a brief break from conference play Wednesday night at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. The match at LSU marks the Aggies' third of five consecutive SEC road matches.
"The competition with all the teams in the SEC is very, very steep, and our schedule doesn't make it any easier with all the traveling," A&M second-year women's head coach Howard Joffe said. "I expect us to have some tough matches. LSU is at home and is a team that won't have any pressure. And one of the things that our kids are starting to find out is that since they are so highly ranked, everyone is enjoying giving their best shot at them. So we will absolutely have to be ready to go against LSU."
LSU, 7-7 overall, is looking for its first conference victory after going 0-4 to open SEC action. Three of the Tigers' four conference losses have been against top 15 teams, including a most recent 6-1 setback to No. 6 Alabama on Sunday.
Senior All-American and sixth-ranked Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar leads the Aggies in singles play with a 28-5 overall record, including a 9-2 mark in dual matches, as well as a 17-3 ledger against ranked opponents. Freshman Stefania Hristov is tied with Sanchez-Quintanar for most wins in dual match play with a 9-3 mark, having seen action at both No. 5 and No. 6, where she is 6-0.
Nazari Urbina, ranked 43rd, is undefeated in conference matches, having gone 4-0 at the No. 3 line. The senior has clinch the Aggies' winning point in each of the last three SEC matches, including last-match-standing victories in the Aggies' crucial 4-3 triumphs against then fourth-ranked Florida and 11th-ranked Vanderbilt.
No. 62-ranked Cristina Stancu is 8-2 in dual matches at the No. 2 line, including a 3-1 record in SEC matches. Stancu and Hristov are No. 9 in the country in doubles with a 17-5 record. They are 8-2 in dual matches at the No. 1 court, including 3-0 in SEC matches, and they enter the LSU contest riding a four-match win streak.
Aggie freshmen twins Ines and Paula Deheza are 5-3 at No. 3 doubles, including 2-1 in conference contests.
LSU, under the direction of first-year head coach Julie S. Sell, is 6-4 in home matches but has not won a match since defeating Grambling State, 7-0, on Feb. 23. The Tigers are a combined 3-21 in SEC singles matches and 2-6 in conference doubles matches.
A&M holds a 23-10 lead in the all-time series against LSU, including 9-5 in matches played in Baton Rouge. The Aggies have won each of the last four meetings and eight of the last nine. The teams met twice last season, with A&M winning 5-2 at LSU and also defeating the Tigers, 4-1, in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich.
A&M continues its SEC road swing on Sunday, heading to Fayetteville, Ark., to face the 41st-ranked Razorbacks at 1 p.m.
Live scoring of the matches will be available at AggieAthletics.com.
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: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Aggie-Womens-Tennis/143874782434654