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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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The Battalion May 4, 2024

No. 25 A&M women’s tennis opens season in Kentucky

 
 

After winning the 2003 Big 12 conference championship, competing in four consecutive NCAAtournaments, and compiling a 150-68 record since 1995, the Texas A&M women’s tennis team has gained a lofty status.
And with the territory comes high expectations.
A&M’s Intercollegiate Tennis Association No. 25 preseason ranking is the second-highest of any Big 12 team behind No. 17 Texas.
The Aggies begin their quest to repeat as Big 12 champions this weekend as they travel to Lexington, Ky., for three matches. A&M takes on No. 13 Kentucky on Friday at 1 p.m. followed by Maryland on Saturday and No. 9 Duke on Sunday.
“The competition will be tough, just as tough as we’ll see the rest of the season,” said A&M assistant coach Allison Ojeda. “Our goal is to be in the top 10 and we have a chance to get a real good win.”
Senior Jessica Roland agrees that the competition will be tough this weekend.
“Kentucky is top-15 and Duke is top-10,” Roland said. “It will be competitive.”
The Aggies are led by Roland, ranked No. 26 in the nation in singles, who is coming off a year where she went 25-14 overall, 19-8 in team matches, and competed individually in the NCAA Championship. Roland also participated in doubles with junior Helga Vieira in the NCAA Championship.
“We’re really focused on this season,” Roland said. “This team is on its way up. What we’ve achieved is the best I’ve seen.”
Other key returnees from last year’s championship team include senior Roberta Spencer, junior Lauren Walker and sophomore Nicki Mechem.
Last year Mechem had an impressive 30-9 overall record.
A&M’s first home match is Feb. 14 against Rice University, with the conference season beginning on Feb. 27 when Iowa State visits. Other significant matches include a visit to Waco on April 8 to take on Baylor and an April 20 home match against Texas.
Despite these important matches, the team does not want to overlook the first part of the season.
“Non-conference is important to get the ranking we want to have for the NCAA tournament,” Roland said. “Our goals are higher this year.”
Ojeda reiterated the team’s lofty goals in light of last season’s success.
This weekend’s tests will give the Aggies a good barometer to measure how their season will turn out.
“We can definitely do better,” Ojeda said. “We want to win the conference, be top-10 and do better than A&M has ever done. ”
Ojeda said this year’s team also has the chemistry it needs to be successful.
“The girls work good together and they support each other,” Ojeda said.
“Jessica has taken a leadership role, Nicki is a leader and Roberta has what it takes to be a leader. Everyone steps up and they respond to one another.”

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