BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 7 Texas A&M women's tennis team punched its ticket to the national quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history Saturday afternoon, as the Aggies notched a 4-0 sweep of the Vanderbilt Commodores in Super Regional action at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
The Aggies continued their dominant run through the dual match slate, improving upon their program-record win total and rising to 33-1 overall on the season. A&M has won 24 consecutive matches dating back to the team's only loss of the season against then-No. 4 California on Feb. 11 during the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championships.
Vanderbilt concludes its season with an 18-10 overall ledger. A&M and Vanderbilt played on three separate occasions in the 2022 season, with the Aggies taking all three matches and outscoring the Commodores by a 14-3 margin.
The Maroon & White snatched their 32nd doubles point of the season, logging a pair of key victories on courts two and three while leading the match on court one.
Renee McBryde and Gianna Pielet booked their third win together during the NCAA Tournament on court three, notching a quick 6-1 victory over Dasha Kourkina and MaryAnn Rompf.
Fueled by the fast start in doubles, 47th-ranked Carson Branstine and Mary Stoiana held on and published a 6-4 result against Marcella Cruz and Anessa Lee at the No. 2 position to secure A&M's early 1-0 lead. The second-ranked duo of Jayci Goldsmith and Tatiana Makarova were on-serve and leading 5-4 against No. 37 Anna Ross and Holly Staff as play at the top line was suspended.
A&M's effort in doubles helped fuel a quick start following the transition to singles play, as the Aggies took five-of-six first sets before booking a trio of straight set victories on courts one, three and four to secure the historic sweep.
Goldsmith's steady 6-2, 6-2 effort on court four put A&M's second point on the board as the Dripping Springs, Texas, native recorded her third straight set win of the year over Cruz.
Despite dropping two of her first three games in the opening frame, No. 74 Stoiana rattled off 11 consecutive game victories to complete her 6-2, 6-0 thumping of No. 87 Lee. With a trio of points already on the board, the Aggies turned to junior phenom and eighth-ranked Branstine to secure the clinch. The Orange, California, native's 6-4, 7-5 triumph over No. 46 Ross marked the final point for Texas A&M at the Mitchell Tennis Center in 2022.
In individual accolades, Branstine moved into a tie for third place on the roster in clinch victories, booking her fourth deciding point of the season.
Meanwhile, Stoiana earned her 33rd singles win of the year on Saturday, moving her into a tie for the fifth-most singles victories in a season with Aggie legends Cristina Stancu and Monica Rebolledo.
A&M improves to 32-26 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and rises to 11-5 in the big dance under the direction of seven-year skipper Mark Weaver. The Maroon & White will appear in the National Quarterfinals of the tournament for only the second time in school history, with their only prior trip to the Elite Eight coming during the 2013 season. The Aggies defeated sixth-seed Miami (FL) in the quarterfinals of the 2013 tournament by a 4-0 margin en route to the program's only appearance in the NCAA Championship match.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Mark Weaver On beating Vanderbilt for the third time... "Beating a team three times in a year is definitely a tricky one. I was pleased to play Vanderbilt. It was a team we were familiar with. They obviously knew our games and we knew theirs as well. We had a good game plan on each court and we felt good about all the matches. Vanderbilt's coach has done a great job all season."
On the program advancing to the National Quarterfinals... "We had high hopes going into the season, but I don't think anyone would have thought we'd be 33-1 right now. We thought we could win the conference and we definitely thought we had a shot at winning a national title, but to be in the position we are now is great. Our mission all year has been to win the national title. We used that California match as fuel for the season, and it has only made us stronger."
On Carson Branstine clinching the match... "I was happy for Carson out there. She had a rough going last week against Baylor, so it was nice for her today to get that clinch. There's nothing like a good clinch win to make you feel good about yourself. We needed everybody today. It's going to be a fine line going forward with Oklahoma, so we'll need all the girls feeling good about themselves. There's no reason why they shouldn't."
On the support from the 12th Man... "It was an amazing crowd. I was a little bit worried about attendance given the heat, graduation and our baseball team doing so well. It was a great crowd, and I was just telling the girls in the locker room, I had chills up my spine when I saw everyone gradually starting to file in at match time. To hear the crowd roaring and cheering on the girls, being an Aggie myself, it's an amazing feeling. It's sad we can't play in front of our crowd at home anymore this season, but it sounds like quite a few are going to make the trip to Illinois, so I'm looking forward to it."
Junior Carson Branstine On playing against Vanderbilt's Anna Ross for the third time... "It was definitely the best match I've played against her. She really upped her level today and was ready to play every point to make it a really tough match for me. I felt relaxed the whole time, even though it didn't always seem like it. I was ready to go out there and be out there as long as I needed to get the win."
On clinching the match for the team... "I definitely embraced it. I like those kind of things and that kind of pressure. It's positive pressure and makes me want to fight even harder for my match and my team. It was exciting. I haven't been able to get a lot of clinches this season since my teammates win so fast and are doing so great. It was fun today. I'm glad I could do that."
On the 12th Man's support... "It was so special. It was the last home match of the season and I'm new to this. I'm new to the 12th Man. Seeing the crowd and how locked in they are to my match and how badly they want you to do well is really special. You don't get that at any other program, especially for tennis. After I clinched, I wanted to turn around and cheer with them because we couldn't have been here today without them."
Head Coach Aleke Tsoubanos On Vanderbilt's fight Saturday... "Firstly congratulations to Texas A&M. I give them a lot of credit. They played a very good match today and showed why they were the best team in the SEC this year. I'm very proud of the way our team competed and conducted themselves this post season. We went up against the league's best and came up just short with super competitive doubles matches at 1 and 2 and opportunities everywhere in 4 of the 6 singles. The amount of improvement this group has made from early March to now is remarkable. There are so many great teams in college tennis and we finished the season among the last 16 standing."
1. #8 Carson Branstine (TAMU) def. #46 Anna Ross (VANDY) 6-4, 7-5
2. #24 Tatiana Makarova (TAMU) vs. #88 Holly Staff (VANDY) 7-6(4), 3-4, unfinished
3. #74 Mary Stoiana (TAMU) def. #87 Anessa Lee (VANDY) 6-2, 6-0
4. Jayci Goldsmith (TAMU) def. Marcella Cruz (VANDY) 6-2, 6-2
5. Gianna Pielet (TAMU) vs. Dasha Kourkina (VANDY) 6-3, 3-6, unfinished
6. Jeanette Mireles (TAMU) vs. Amy Stevens (VANDY) 6-7(3), 3-3, unfinished
1. #6 Jayci Goldsmith / Tatiana Makarova (TAMU) vs. #37 Anna Ross / Holly Staff (VANDY) 5-5, unfinished
2. #47 Carson Branstine / Mary Stoiana (TAMU) def. Marcella Cruz / Anessa Lee (VANDY) 6-4
3. Renee McBryde / Gianna Pielet (TAMU) def. Dasha Kourkina / MaryAnn Rompf (VANDY) 6-1
Order of Finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (4,3,1*)
- Texas A&M advances to the National Quarterfinals for the second time in program history.
- A&M improves to 32-26 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
- Head Coach Mark Weaver is 11-5 in the NCAA Tournament. The Maroon & White improve to 15-0 at home against non-conference opponents and 248-65 when playing at the friendly confines of the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
- Texas A&M is 31-1 when clinching the doubles point.
- The Aggies are now 8-12 all-time against the Commodores and 3-0 this season.
- Junior Carson Branstine clinched her fourth match of the season. She is now tied with Jeanette Mireles and Gianna Pielet for the third-most on the team.
- Freshman Mary Stoiana earned her 33rd singles win of the year, moving her into a tie for the fifth-most singles victories in a season with Aggie legends Cristina Stancu and Monica Rebolledo.
No. 7 Texas A&M advances to the National Quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament in Champaign, Ill. The Aggies will take on No. 2 Oklahoma on Friday, May 20 at 7 p.m. (CT) at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex.