The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggies ace it, Bulldogs face it

A&M women’s tennis beats Georgia, wins first NCAA Championship
Photo by CJ Smith
The Aggies react after clinching the national championship after Texas A&M’s win against Georgia at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship Game in Greenwood Tennis Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma on Sunday, May 19, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

The No. 13 Texas A&M women’s tennis team took on No. 7 Georgia and served up a score of 4-1 to clinch its newest title: NCAA Champions. 

The Maroon and White played Georgia on Sunday, May 19, at the Greenwood Tennis Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Both teams weren’t strangers to playing each other, as the Aggies had gone 0-3 against the Bulldogs this season.

Doubles play was planned for 6:30 p.m., but the match started at 7:43 p.m. after the men’s NCAA Championship match. 

On Court 1, No. 7 duo junior Mary Stoiana and sophomore Mia Kupres went up against freshman Aysegul Mert and junior Dasha Vidmanova. The pair went 17-3 in doubles overall and was the highest-scoring partnership for the Aggies this season. Despite that, its cross-court shots were repeatedly interrupted by the Bulldogs, which left Kupres with little time to respond.

On Court 2, freshman Lucciana Perez’s swift backhands gave her an early advantage against Georgia, but the immediate switch from the baseline to the frontcourt did not receive a quick response from senior Carson Branstine. 

Before more matches were scheduled to start, the championship was suspended due to inclement weather at 8:15 p.m. and resumed around 8:50 p.m. at the facility’s indoor tennis courts. 

Fresh off the storm, the A&M duet of sophomore Nicole Khirin and junior Jeanette Mireles went up against sophomore Anastasiia Lopata and junior Mell Reasco on Court 3. Both Aggies responded to cross-court shots and remained on the baseline for most of their match. Mireles’ lob shots and Khirin’s volley shot returns led them to be the first pair to win doubles, 6-3. 

Perez and Branstine followed shortly with a 6-4 win on Court 2, giving momentum for the Maroon and White over Georgia as they led into singles play, 1-0. 

The atmosphere was unrelenting as chants of “A-G-G-I-E-S” drowned out the Georgia fans at the indoor match.

Despite the heavy A&M support, Kupres fell to No. 70 Lopata on Court 4, 6-4, 6-1, as Lopata grabbed the first win for Georgia, tying the Bulldogs with the Aggies, 1-1.

Immediately after, No. 1 Stoiana took the lead against No. 16 junior Dasha Vidmandova on Court 1, followed by Perez on Court 5. The momentum was key for the Maroon and White as Stoiana and Perez were the team’s most decorated players, awarded SEC Player of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year, respectively.

Perez was all over Court 5, taking both sets against junior Guillermina Grant, 6-2,  7-6. Stoiana’s aggression and “move forward” chants toward Vidmanova made her struggle to keep up. Stoiana took the win in straight sets, 6-1, 7-6, extending the Aggies’ score to 3-1. 

As the lightning struck outside the courts, No. 88 Khirin served a smash shot and took the first set on Court 5 against No. 65 Mell Reasco. Following a devastating forehand shot at the net, Khirin clinched the match with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 victory.

With Khirin’s win, she secured A&M’s first ever NCAA women’s tennis championship.

The Maroon and White are headed to the individual NCAA Championship starting Monday, May 20, with Stoiana, Kupres and Khirin competing in the opening round of singles at 9 a.m. 

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About the Contributor
Shalina Sabih
Shalina Sabih, Sports writer
Shalina is a Pakistani-American journalism major from Dallas, TX. She is also minoring in communications. Aside from being a sports writer she freelances for the yearbook and is an intern writer at The Bryan College Station Chronicle. She is the winner of the Headliners Foundation Scholarship and is the only Aggie who received the scholarship for the 2024-25 school year. Shalina's favorite sport is football and she loves the Dallas Cowboys. She wants to pursue a career in journalism after graduating college and also plans to attend Law school.
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