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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 host Baylor with Big 12 lead on the line

There must be something about playing at home, because the Texas A&M women’s tennis team now owns an 8-0 record at the A&M Tennis Center. After beating the University of Oklahoma and the University of Colorado over the weekend, the No. 29 Aggies (10-6, 5-1 Big 12) will be looking to continue their recent resurgence against Baylor University tonight.
The match will serve as a decisive Big 12 showdown as the Aggies hold a narrow half game lead over the No. 44 Bears (6-9, 4-1 Big 12) in the conference standings.
Baylor and A&M have more in common this season than in years past. Baylor Head Coach Joey Scrivano is the commander in chief of a team that finds itself riddled with youth and closely resembling the A&M team, which depends primarily on underclassmen talent this season. Amazingly enough, both teams have just one senior on their rosters. With that in mind, Scrivano said he wanted to bring his team along slowly, and he is pleased with his players’ desire to mature as athletes.
“These girls have come a long way from the start of the year, especially for as young of a squad as I have,” Scrivano said. “We’ve really taken things a bit more slowly because we wanted to fully develop as a team.”
The Bears, led by sophomore Daria Potapova, are in the midst of a frustrating stretch, as they have lost five of their last six matches by one point, going down 4-3 in each match.
Baylor should have more confidence tonight facing their Highway 6 rival A&M, after having managed a solid 4-1 record in Big 12 competition.
“We don’t get too caught up in who we are playing,” Scrivano said. “If it is A&M or Stanford it really doesn’t matter, we just want to go out and get better. I’m just proud of my girls. We’ve lost some close 4-3 matches, but they haven’t given up yet.”
The Aggies, on the other hand, are in the thick of a friendly seven-match homestand, and it appears that the doubles teams have started to click. Working to secure the doubles point has been the theme to this (the) spring season, and against Colorado this past weekend things started to come together.
Head Coach Bobby Kleinecke said he couldn’t be more proud about the payoff of his team’s hard work.
“I am very proud of No. 1 and No. 2 doubles,” Kleinecke said. “It is the best we have played at those positions at the same time. That was very solid play (against Colorado).”
A&M freshman Nicki Mechem is undefeated in conference play this year with a singles record of 6-0. Meanwhile, A&M juniors Jessica Roland and Roberta Spencer are riding a nine-match winning streak in No. 1 doubles play.
However, A&M Assistant Coach Alison Ojeda is quick to caution her team against getting too comfortable and complacent about its strong performance at home this season.
“We’ve had some really close matches at home and have even been down in some of them and had to battle back,” Ojeda said. “We kind of recommitted ourselves to our practice and the girls have buckled down, and that is evident in the way they’ve been playing the last few weeks. Come tournament time there won’t be any excuses, nobody will be able to say we didn’t do all that we could to prepare.”
Match time is set for 6 p.m. tonight, as the Aggies will be looking to extend their unbeaten mark at home to nine matches.

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