Texas A&M downs Vanderbilt to advance to semifinals
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The No. 2 Texas A&M women's tennis team advanced to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament following a 4-1 win over Vanderbilt. The team will face the No. 4 seed Florida, Saturday, April 22, at the Billingsley Tennis Center, with serve set for 12 p.m.
The Aggies (26-1, 14-0 SEC) were met by a scrappy Vanderbilt (15-11, 7-8 SEC) team in the second round of the SEC Tournament. The Commodores were riding a high from a win the day before and fought the Maroon & White the entire way. However, A&M's depth showed up and was the difference on the day, as it advanced to the semifinals where it will play the Florida Gators.
Doubles dominance has been a trend all season, and the Aggies delivered once again claiming the point. No. 55 Mary Stoiana/Mia Kupres continued their undefeated run, as they improved to 8-0 dominating Vanderbilt's Anna Ross/Holly Staff (6-1). The Commodores responded on court 1, but Gianna Pielet/Jeanette Mireles got the job done outlasting Bridget Stammel/Anessa Lee (7-5), securing the point.
With singles on deck, veteran leadership showed up. No. 115 Jayci Goldsmith showed her championship experience putting on a clinical performance on court 4, as she downed Holly Staff (6-1, 6-2), doubling the Maroon & White's advantage.
A&M called upon another upperclassman, as No. 73 Salma Ewing extended the lead further on court 2. The graduate transfer bested No. 89 Stammel, controlling the match the entire way, while putting the Aggies in a position to clinch the match as they led, 3-0
The Commodores found their footing, scraping a point back on court 1 and forcing third sets on all the remaining courts. The pressure fell to three underclassmen, and it was Daria Smetannikov who stepped up to the plate. The freshman outlasted Amy Stevens on court 5 clinching the win, 4-1.
"It was a very hard-fought victory today," head coach Mark Weaver said. "I was really impressed with three doubles, as their [Vanderbilt's] three doubles had only lost once all year and that win clinched the point. I think having a match under our belt will help us tomorrow, as we play a very good Florida team."
Fans can follow the team in Saturday's semifinal through coverage on SEC Network+.
Live stats are available all week through Arkansas' website.
(VU) No. 34 Célia-Belle Mohr Def.
(TAMU) No. 2 Mary Stoiana - (6-2, 6-4)
(TAMU) No. 73 Salma Ewing Def. (VU) No. 89 Bridget Stammel - (6-3, 6-2)
(TAMU) No. 57 Mia Kupres - (VU) No. 117 Anessa Lee - (5-7, 6-4, 2-3) unfinished
(TAMU) No. 115 Jayci Goldsmith Def. (VU) Holly Staff (6-1, 6-2)
(TAMU) Daria Smetannikov Def. (VU) Amy Stevens (3-6, 6-4, 6-3)
(TAMU) Jeanette Mireles - (VU) Marcella Cruz - (6-4, 5-7, 2-5) unfinished
(VU) Célia-Belle Mohr/Marcella Cruz Def. (TAMU) No. 22 Jayci Goldsmith/Salma Ewing - (6-2)
(TAMU) No. 69 Mary Stoiana/Mia Kupres Def. (VU) Anna Ross/Holly Staff - (6-1)
(TAMU) Jeanette Mireles/Gianna Pielet Def. (VU) Bridget Stammel/Anessa Lee - (7-5)