GAINESVILLE, Fla. (April 22, 2022) - Jayci Goldsmith came away with a hard-fought second-set tiebreaker to close out her match against Marcella Cruz, and the No. 6 Texas A&M women's tennis team defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores by a 4-2 margin Friday afternoon in the SEC Women's Tennis Championship Quarterfinals from Linder Stadium at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex.
A&M continues its record-setting pace in the 2022 dual match campaign, improving to 28-1 overall. The Aggies have won each of their last 19 matches and have gone undefeated since a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to then-No. 4 Cal during the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championships on February 11. The Maroon & White reach the semifinals of the SEC Women's Tennis Championships for the third consecutive time dating back to the 2019 SEC Tournament in Bryan-College Station. In defeat, Vanderbilt concludes its trip in the Sunshine State with a 1-1 ledger in the conference tournament and a 16-9 record overall.
The Aggies opened the match with an all-out blitz in the doubles competition, coasting to a pair of wins at the No. 1 and No. 3 lines while holding a significant edge on court two. Renee McBryde and Gianna Pielet were first off the courts, as the Aggie duo rolled to an early 5-0 lead before securing a 6-2 victory to get things started. The nation's third-ranked doubles tandem of Jayci Goldsmith and Tatiana Makarova dismantled No. 40 Anna Ross and Holly Staff on court one, logging a decisive 6-1 result. No. 47 Carson Branstine and Mary Stoiana held a commanding 5-2 lead over Marcella Cruz and Anessa Lee, but the match went unfinished as the doubles point was clinched.
The Aggies opened the singles competition by winning a quartet of first sets, taking the overall match following victories on courts one, two and four. No. 20 Makarova raced past No. 91 Staff in an impressive 6-0, 6-2 match to put A&M ahead by a 2-0 margin. No. 15 Branstine cruised past No. 41 Ross in the top-line matchup by a 6-2, 6-1 score to extend the lead to three. The Commodores then mounted a comeback, battling for a pair of wins at the bottom of the lineup. Kourkina defeated Pielet by a 6-3, 6-1 edge on court five, and Amy Stevens notched a straight set decision over Katya Townsend on court six to make it a 3-2 Aggie lead. With the match in the balance, Goldsmith stepped up in the big moments during the second-set tiebreaker after logging a 6-4 win in the opening frame. The senior outlasted Cruz by a 7-4 edge in the deciding breaker and won each of the last three points to take the match by a 6-4, 7-6(4) margin. No. 70 Stoiana led No. 86 Lee, but their match remained unfinished following the conclusion of the team competition.
In individual accolades, Makarova became the fourth singles player in program history to reach the century mark in career victories. The graduate now stands in a tie for fourth with Aggie great Anna Blagodarova in career singles wins and sits one doubles win back from tying Anna Lubinsky for No. 2 in all-time doubles victories. Makarova is just the third Aggie in program-history to reach the century club in both singles and doubles in the Brazos Valley, joining Nicki Mechem and Anna Lubinsky. Goldsmith, meanwhile, recorded her third deciding point in the 2022 season and her first since defeating Carly Briggs of Florida to secure the team match in early March.
Top-seeded and sixth-ranked Texas A&M continues its stay in the Sunshine State of Florida, as the Aggies enter the semifinals of the 2022 Southeastern Conference Women's Tennis Championships. A&M will face the fourth-seeded and 15th-ranked Florida Gators in a noon (ET) first serve from Linder Stadium at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex.