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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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Women handle Rice with ease

Texas A&M women’s tennis head coach Bobby Kleinecke and his players talked all week about the advantages that playing outdoors again would give the team. Sunday, the team learned that it takes longer than expected to get reacclimated.
Nonetheless, the No. 19 Aggies blanked the Rice Owls (4-4) 7-0 in a hotly-contested match at the George P. Mitchell Center. The score was deceiving, though, as Rice led A&M (3-4) in three of the six singles’ matches before eventually folding to the Aggies.
“(The outdoors) did have a factor,” Kleinecke said. “It’s tough to go from indoors to outdoors. The ball bounces a lot slower when you’re outdoors.”
Senior Roberta Spencer and junior Lauren Walker helped get the Aggies going with a convincing 8-3 doubles win over the Rice tandem of sophomore Blair DiSesa and junior Erika Villalobos.
“We came out strong and its good to know we’re going to take care of business,” Walker said. “It helped our No. 3 doubles come back.”
Two courts away, A&M junior Helga Vieira and freshman Anna Lubinsky rallied past Rice seniors Yasmin Fisher and Annie Goodrich to clinch the doubles point for the Aggies.
Despite winning the doubles point, Kleinecke said he is not totally pleased with his team’s performance in doubles.
“I’m concerned with doubles. I’m pleased with our effort, our character, our fight and all of the intangibles. But we have some improvement to do in doubles. I didn’t walk away totally satisfied with doubles.”
In singles action, the Aggies won all six matches. It was easy though as three of the matches went into an extra game, and Lubinsky’s victory against Goodrich involved a second set tiebreaker.
With A&M leading the overall match, 3-0, the remaining fans hovered over the last four singles matches and cheered on the Aggies. This, along with mental toughness, may have been the deciding factor in the outcome.
“I think (mental toughness was a factor),” Walker said. “I know I can do it and my team was behind me.”
Kleinecke said his team will never back down.
“That’s their character,” Kleinecke said. “They’re gonna play through, give themselves a chance to win, and that’s crucial.”
Down the stretch, Rice failed to come up with an answer for A&M’s late push.
After losing the first set, A&M sophomore Nikki Mechem was down 5-3 in the second set. She came back and won the set 7-6, and then the tiebreaker, 10-7.
Walker lost her first set of singles to Fisher, then won the second set and tiebreaker to win the match.
“It was a hard-fought match,” said Rice head coach Roger White. “A&M played real tough, and we look forward to seeing them in the (NCAA) regional tournament.”
The Aggies next take the court in Chapel Hill, N.C., when they take on the University of North Carolina next Saturday.

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