COLLEGE STATION, Texas â The 11th-ranked Texas A&M womenâs tennis team came up short in its quest to advance to the ITA National Team Indoor Championship, falling to No. 41 TCU, 4-2, in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend championship match today at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
The Aggies, who had advanced to the national indoor championship each of the last two years, drop to 1-1. TCU, 3-0, ends a four-match losing streak against A&M and earns a berth to the championship, to be played Feb. 6-9, in Charlottesville, Va.
Texas A&M won two of three doubles matches to take the early lead, but the match came down to singles, where five of the six matches went to a third set. TCU won four of the five matches to be completed to get the victory, handing A&M its first home loss after winning the doubles point since Howard Joffe became head coach of the Aggies in 2012.
TCUâs duo of Palina Dubavets and Alexia Pereira gave the Horned Frogs the early edge in doubles with a 6-4 victory over Stefania Hristov and Anna Mamalat at the No. 3 line. A&Mâs 30th-ranked tandem of Ines Deheza and Rachel Pierson then evened the race for the doubles point with a 6-3 win at No. 1, winning three consecutive games to close out the match.
A&Mâs Rutuja Bhosale and Saska Gavrilovska had gotten off to a slow start against Sofia Kadzhaya and Simona Parajova, trailing the Frogs 4-1 before reeling off five straight games to win the match and clinch the point for the Aggies.
In the only two-set singles match, Kadzhaya knotted the team score at 1-1 with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Deheza at the No. 3 line. TCU then took the lead as Parajova finished off 56th-ranked Pierson, 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2.
TCU went up, 3-1, as Tan upset 29th-ranked Gavrilovska, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 at the No. 1 court. Hristov kept the Aggies in the hunt with a 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 grueling victory over Pereira at No. 5 before Arantekin capped the victory for the Frogs with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 win over Mamalat at No. 6.
Bhosale and Dubavets were tied at 3-3 in the third set at No. 4, with Dubavets winning the first set, 6-4, and Bhosale winning the second set, 7-6, after pulling away for a 7-5 win in the tiebreaker.
In the consolation match of the four-team pod, No. 35 Houston defeated No. 70 North Texas, 4-2.
Next up for A&M is a meeting against No. 3 North Carolina on Sunday, Feb. 1 at the Galleria Tennis and Athletic Club in Houston. First serve is slated for noon.
Visit 12thMan.com for more information on Texas A&M womenâs tennis. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M womenâs tennis team on Twitter by following @AggieWTEN or on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Aggie-Womens-Tennis/143874782434654
Texas A&M head Coach Howard Joffe quotes:
On what he learned from todayâs match…
âMore than anything, the loss is obviously very disappointing and yet our team, I felt like we didn’t perform very well at any of the spots and yet our kids handled themselves so well. So in reference to the question what did I learn: we’ve got a really tough team. I know it’s the old coaching maxim, which is it’s early in the season, so I’m going to play the early-in-the-season card. But I really think that as time goes on, this team will be a very, very excellent team. They handled themselves well. They played way below any reasonable expectation and were still sort of in the match until the very last ball. More than anything, I learned that weâve got some good character on the team. But I do feel like competitively we are not there yet, there is no question about that.â
On if he was disappointed on the level of play both daysâ¦
âFor me to maybe say I am disappointed, competitively I am disappointed but in relationship to what we can expect, we have a lot of players coming off…Ines [Deheza] hurt her knee again last week. We’ve had our No. 1, 2 and 3 player a little bit banged up, and they haven’t gotten enough tennis with the weather being what it’s been. All of these are suitable excuses and yet they are true. We haven’t had as much tennis. And so I know that each individual kid can and will get better as the season goes. So competitively it’s disappointing, but I don’t expect Ines to be much further along at this stage in the game, but in a monthâs time, it will be a different story for sure.â
On if frustration was setting inâ¦
âI think maybe one thing in some of the matches, five of the six matches went to a third set and I think we won one of them. And so, I think it speaks to not getting enough matches, and we did, we weakened, whether it was physically or mentally, in quite a few of those third sets. But I don’t think that’s necessarily a fundamental problem of our kids as much as it is we need to get out of the office a little bit more, get a little better conditioned. And obviously we need more of these matches. Again, very disappointing and yet this was like an excellent match for us, because it’s going to put a little good mileage on us competitively.â
On the veteran Stefania Hristov’s win…
Iâve got to give the kid [Alexis Pereira] from TCU a lot of credit because Stefania was on her and up, and then Stefania made a charge in the second set and the TCU kid hung in there the whole way. So Stefania is a stalwart and a backstopper so to speak, and itâs so encouraging to see her. She would be the one person whose level has not dropped off at all.â
On losing the match after winning the doubles point…
âI’m not even sure about this but I don’t know that we have won the doubles point and then lost the match [at home] since I have been the coach here. So it’s disappointing, but based on knowing where our kids are at, it’s not surprising. But the other thing that hasn’t been asked: TCU is a very good team. There is no question about it. You saw their six ladies and three doubles teams fighting their tails off and playing good tennis and being highly motivated. They are definitely a team that’s under ranked, and yet it’s still a disappointing loss for us.â
On Eva Paalma not playing singles today after easily winning her match yesterdayâ¦
âBad coaching. I think we have in my estimation up and down the line very even players. If you look at our results, the records are very similar and so forth, and so we had just planned to have Eva play the sixth [court] yesterday and Anna [Mamalat] play it today, the rationale being that Anna’s a bit of a seasoned veteran, and we knew this match was going to be hairy. In hindsight, maybe Eva would have whacked the girl at six, who knows.â
#41 TCU 4, #11 Texas A&M 2
ITA Kick-Off Weekend, Championship Match
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
College Station, Texas
January 25, 2015
1.Â Â Â Â Stefanie Tan (TCU) def. #29 Saska Gavrilovska (TAMU), 6-2, 3-6, 6-1
2.Â Â Â Â Simona Parajova (TCU) def. #56 Rachel Pierson (TAMU), 4-6, 6-1, 6-0
3.Â Â Â Â Sofiko Kadzhaya (TCU) def. Ines Deheza (TAMU), 6-4, 6-4
4.Â Â Â Â Rutuja Bhosale (TAMU) vs. Palina Dubavets (TCU), 4-6, 7-6 (5), 3-3 unfinished
5.Â Â Â Â Stefania Hristov (TAMU) def. Alexis Pereira (TCU), 6-1, 4-6, 7-5
6.Â Â Â Â Seda Arantekin (TCU) def. Anna Mamalat (TAMU), 6-4, 2-6, 6-3
Doubles (Texas A&M wins the point)
1.Â Â Â Â #30 Deheza/Pierson (TAMU) def. Arantekin/Tan (TCU), 6-3
2.Â Â Â Â Bhosale/Gavrilovska (TAMU) def. Kadzhaya/Parajova (TCU), 6-4
3. Â Â Â Dubavets/Pereira (TCU) def. Hristov/Anna Mamalat (TAMU), 6-4
Order of finish
Doubles:Â 3, 1, 2
Singles: 3, 2, 1, 5, 6
Texas A&M: 1-1
#35 Houston 4, #70 North Texas 2
ITA Kick-Off Weekend, Consolation Match
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
College Station, Texas
January 25, 2015
1.Â Â Â Â #21 Despoina Vogasari (UH) def. Kseniya Bardabush (UNT), 1-6, 6-0, 6-1
2.Â Â Â Â #52 Elena Kordolaimi (UH) def. Anastasiya Shestakova (UNT), 7-5, 6-2
3.Â Â Â Â Alexis Thoma (UNT) def. Rocio Martin (UH), 6-3, 6-2
4.Â Â Â Â Mina Markovic (UH) def. Agustina Valenzuela (UNT), 6-2, 3-6, 7-5
5.Â Â Â Â Franziska Sprinkmeyer (UNT) def. Maria Cardenas (UH) , 6-0, 6-3
6.Â Â Â Â Charlotte Phillips (UH) vs. Ana Sofia Cordero (UNT), 7-5, 2-6, 4-5 unfinished
Doubles (UH wins the point)
1.Â Â Â Â Markovic/Vogasari (UH) def. Bardabush/Sprinkmeyer (UNT), 6-4
2.Â Â Â Â Kordolaimi/Martin (UH) def. Shestakova/Thoma (UNT), 6-3
3.Â Â Â Â Cordero/Valenzuela (UNT) def. Cardenas/Phillips (UH), 6-1
Order of finish:
Doubles: 3, 1, 2
Singles: 5, 1, 3, 2, 4
North Texas: 0-3
Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics