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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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Aggie women’s tennis exits ITA Championships with 1-2 mark

Sophomore+Mia+Kupres+returns+the+ball+during+Texas+A%26amp%3BMs+match+against+TCU+on+Sunday%2C+Jan.+28%2C+2024%2C+at+the+Mitchell+Tennis+Center.+%28Connor+May%2FThe+Battalion%29
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Sophomore Mia Kupres returns the ball during Texas A&M’s match against TCU on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024, at the Mitchell Tennis Center. (Connor May/The Battalion)

The No. 9 Texas A&M women’s tennis team had high hopes heading into the ITA Indoor Championships in Seattle. coming off of a 4-3 loss to the Miami Hurricanes on Feb. 2.

In the first round of play on Feb. 9, A&M matched up against a familiar foe in the No. 10 Texas Longhorns. In this rendition of the Lone Star Showdown, Texas was off to a hot start by earning the point in doubles play.

This included the No. 37 team of senior Taisiya Pachkaleva and junior Sabina Zeynalova defeating the Aggies’ No. 3 team of sophomore Mia Kupres and junior Mary Stoiana, 6-1. This saw one of the best duos in the country fall in a one-sided match.

The Orange and White did not let off the gas as they advanced to a 3-0 lead over the Aggies. Eventually, however, No. 32 sophomore Nicole Khirin and No. 1 Stoiana dragged A&M within a point.

Despite A&M’s best effort, Texas eventually claimed the 4-2 victory and the right to advance in the next round of play.

“It was a battle out there tonight and we fought very hard to the bitter end,” coach Mark Weaver said. “We are so close and right there in all these matches. I have full confidence that we will use this adversity to get the results that we want and we deserve.”

The team headed into the consolation bracket on Feb. 10, facing off against the No. 14 Auburn Tigers.

The Aggies bounced right back from their loss to the Longhorns the day before, quickly securing the doubles point and the 1-0 lead heading into singles play.

A&M kept its foot on the gas pedal, winning five of the first sets of singles action.

No. 32 Khirin and junior Jeanette Mireles brought the Aggies within one point of victory, as their wins put the Maroon and White up 3-0.

After eventually dropping one match to Auburn, No. 24 Kupres secured the 4-1 win for A&M.

This was a much better performance for the Aggies, as the team looked inspired after the previous loss.

“Very proud of our group,” Weaver said. “It was a great bounce back from a tough loss last night. I wouldn’t expect anything different from our group.”

The Aggies continued into another round of consolation play on Feb. 11 against the No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs feasted early and often, swiftly securing the doubles point to get the 1-0 lead going into singles play.

Georgia then doubled its lead to 2-0 before No. 24 Kupres helped A&M sneak its foot in the door to make the score 2-1.

The back-and-forth battle continued as the Bulldogs claimed another point before No. 32 Khirin answered right back.

With the score reading 3-2 in favor of Georgia, the Bulldogs dealt the kill shot on court 4, claiming a 4-2 victory against the underwhelming Aggies.

“That was a nail-biter and a very high-level tennis match,” Weaver said. “We are playing good tennis and every match we have played has come down to the wire and not in our favor. We have to find ways to get across the finish line and I know our group will figure it out.”

The 5-5 Aggies will need to pick up the pace if they hope to three-peat as SEC champions this season.

A&M will be back in action on Feb. 18 at the Mitchell Tennis Center as it welcomes the Rice Owls to Aggieland.

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Matthew Seaver
Matthew Seaver, Sports Reporter
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