Florida and Georgia, who both tied the Aggies for the 2013 SEC regular season champion title, were picked to finish first and second, respectively, with Alabama and Vanderbilt rounding out the top five. Auburn was projected to finish sixth, with South Carolina, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, LSU, Missouri and Mississippi State completing the list.
The Aggies, No. 7 in the first ITA national ranking of the spring, are competing in the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in Rancho Mirage, Calif., this weekend and open dual match competition Saturday, January 25 as they play host to Mississippi State, DePaul and San Jose State in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
Aggie head coach Howard Joffe returns five letterwinners from last year’s history-making team that was an all-time high No. 3 in the final ranking after going 26-4 and advancing to the NCAA national championship match, where A&M fell to Stanford, 4-3. The third-year head coach will be counting on one senior, four sophomores and four freshmen this season as the Aggies aim to defend their SEC title and make another run at the national championship.
The Aggies are led by lone senior Cristina Stancu, who enters the spring ranked a career-high No. 14 in the ITA singles rankings released Jan. 3. She is No. 22 in doubles with sophomore partner Stefania Hristov. In addition, sophomore Ines Deheza and freshman Rutuja Bhosale are No. 51 in the preseason doubles rankings.
Also returning are sophomores Paula Deheza and Anna Mamalat. Freshmen Saska Gavrilovska, Jana McCord and Mason Strickland round out the Aggies’ 2014 squad.
Season tickets for the Mitchell Tennis Center Stadium Club, which offers covered, courtside seating exclusively to season ticket holders, are on sale for $125 each and are good for all men’s and women’s regular-season home matches. Season tickets can be purchased online at http://tickets.12thmanfoundation.com/tennis/season-tickets.aspx, by phone at 888-992-4443, or in person at the Ticket Center’s Kyle Field location.
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/AggieWomensTennis
The complete tally for the SEC preseason poll is below with national ranking in parentheses:
Florida (2) 191
Georgia (4) 184
Texas A&M (7) 164
Alabama (12) 149
Vanderbilt (16) 143
Auburn (23) 125
South Carolina (33) 96
Ole Miss (35) 89
Tennessee (31) 86
Kentucky (43) 74
Arkansas (51) 62
LSU (66) 52
Missouri (63) 31
Mississippi State 24