FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The No. 2 Texas A&M women's tennis team punched its ticket to the SEC Tournament final for the third-straight year, as it bested No. 4 seed Florida (4-2). The Aggies will aim to defend their title, playing the winner of Georgia/Tennessee, Sunday, April 23, at the Billingsley Tennis Center, with first serve set for 1 p.m.
The Aggies (27-1, 13-0 SEC) advanced to the SEC Tournament finals for the third-straight year in a back-and-forth semifinal with Florida (16-7, 9-4 SEC). A&M went up early following a pair of tiebreak doubles wins, and a Mary Stoiana masterclass on court 1 in singles. However, the Aggies had to battle through some adversity on the remaining courts to ensure their place in the championship.
"That was a highly entertaining college tennis match today," head coach Mark Weaver said. "We were able to come away with a highly contested doubles point, which turned out to be crucial as we went down in five first sets early. However, we turned most of them around and found a way to get the win."
The Maroon & White faced an uphill battle as the Gators opened doubles taking court 3. The Aggies, however, were ready as they fought all the way back and won a pair of tiebreakers to claim the point. No. 25 Jayci Goldsmith/Salma Ewing survived a tough contest on court 1 versus No. 21 Alicia Dudeney/Bente Spee (7-6(4)) to tie the teams with one match each. Moments later No. 55 Stoiana/Mia Kupres finished the job, outlasting No. 74 Carly Briggs/Rachel Gailis (7-6(3)) to secure the lead heading into singles.
Aiming to bounce back from just her second loss of the year in Friday's quarterfinals, No. 2 Stoiana showed why she is one of the elite players in the nation. The sophomore dominated No. 25 Sara Dahlstrom on court 1 for her 20th singles dual match win of the season, doubling the Maroon & White's advantage, 2-0.
The Gators struck back with a win on court 3, but A&M countered through No. 73 Ewing. She secured a come-from-behind win on court 2 over No. 45 Briggs (2-6, 6-2, 6-4) to claim her 15th dual match win of the season, and left the Aggies one point away from victory, 3-1.
With Florida edging closer through a win on court 4, freshman Jeanette Mireles left no doubt as she punched A&M's ticket to the SEC Tournament finals for the third-straight year. She outlasted Spee on court 6 (5-7, 6-1, 6-1), securing her 10th conference singles win of the year.
Fans can follow the team in Sunday's final through coverage on the SEC Network, while live stats are available all week through Arkansas' website.
(TAMU) No. 2 Mary Stoiana Def. (UF) No. 25 Sara Dahlstrom - (6-1, 6-1)
(TAMU) No. 73 Salma Ewing Def. (UF) No. 45 Carly Briggs - (2-6, 6-2, 6-4)
(UF) No. 100 Alicia Dudeney Def. (TAMU) No. 57 Mia Kupres - (6-3, 6-4)
(UF) Rachel Gailis Def. (TAMU) No. 115 Jayci Goldsmith - (7-6(3), 1-6, 7-5)
(TAMU) Daria Smetannikov - (UF) Emily De Oliveira - (4-6, 6-4, 5-4) unfinished
(TAMU) Jeanette Mireles Def. (UF) Bente Spee - (5-7, 6-1, 6-1)
(TAMU) No. 25 Jayci Goldsmith/Salma Ewing Def. (UF) No. 21 Alicia Dudeney/Bente Spee - (7-6(4))
(TAMU) No. 55 Mary Stoiana/Mia Kupres Def. (UF) No. 74 Carly Briggs/Rachel Gailis - (7-6(3))
(UF) Emma Shelton/Sophie Williams Def. (TAMU) Jeanette Mireles/Gianna Pielet - (2-6)
- Mary Stoiana leads the team with 20 dual match singles wins.
- Stoiana leads the Aggies in singles winning percentage .909 (Min. 10 dual matches played).
- In singles, court 3 holds the highest winning percentage at .913.
- Jayci Goldsmith/Salma Ewing lead the Maroon & White with 20 dual match doubles wins.
- In doubles, court 2 holds the highest winning percentage at .909.
- The Aggies boast a .947 winning percentage versus ranked opponents this season.
- The Maroon & White boast a 20-2 record in ranked doubles matches.