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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’s tennis team earns first-round bye

The Texas A&M women’s tennis team will travel to Norman, Okla., as the No. 3 seed in the 2009 Big 12 Championship tournament today.
The Aggies received a first- round bye and will play the winner of Oklahoma State and Iowa State on Friday.
“I think we are ready for whoever we play,” said A&M Head Coach Bobby Kleinecke. “I feel like the road is set for us to peak at the right time and we just need to keep fighting and working for it.”
The Aggies were 9-2 in Big 12 regular season play.
A&M opened Big 12 play March 7 on the road against Texas and fell 6-1 in a one-sided Longhorn victory. After a streak of seven consecutive wins, A&M suffered their second conference loss to No. 5 Baylor April 15 by a score of 6-1. The Aggies completed Big 12 play with a road trip to Kansas that included wins against both Kansas State and Kansas.
“We have done very well in the Big 12 and gained a lot of confidence,” said junior Elze Potgieter. “I think right now we have a whole different mentality going into the tournament.”
The Aggies will need to succeed at the Big 12 Tournament in order to get a bid to the NCAA Championships, which take place at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center starting May 15.
If the Aggies win the tournament, they will receive an automatic bid. The Aggies need to make a run in the tournament if they want to receive an at-large bid because they sit on the bubble with a No. 35 national ranking.
“If we have to go on an at large bid to the NCAA’s then I think we need to make a good showing,” Kleinecke said. “I don’t think we are in automatic territory to make this tournament. We still have some work that we have to do.”
The Aggies will depend on success from a young team that includes three freshmen: Janelle Cuthbertson, Lauren Santacroce and Sheri Olivier.
“There probably will be some nerves, but I think our team is so close that they will really step it up,” Potgieter said. “We are all so close that I don’t think nerves will be a problem, they can handle it.”
If the higher seeds win, the Aggies could play Texas again. Texas is seeded No. 2 in the tournament and will play the winner of Texas Tech and Oklahoma.
“I would be very excited if we got a chance to play them,” Potgieter said. “I think it will be a totally different match. Since then we have grown a lot as a team.”
Regardless of the teams the Aggies have to play, A&M is looking to win the Big 12 Championship trophy and the automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
“I feel like we are going in with the mindset that we are going to win the tournament,” Kleinecke said. “We have a tough road ahead of us. We are going to take it one match at a time, but our goal is to go in there and win the tournament.”

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