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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 sends Gators home hungry

Freshman+Lucciana+Perez+hits+the+ball+at+Texas+A%26amp%3BMs+match+against+Florida+on+Sunday%2C+March+3%2C+2024%2C+at+the+Mitchell+Tennis+Center.+%28%C2%A9+Connor+May%2FThe+Battalion%29
Photo by Connor May
Freshman Lucciana Perez hits the ball at Texas A&M’s match against Florida on Sunday, March 3, 2024, at the Mitchell Tennis Center. (© Connor May/The Battalion)

The No. 21 Texas A&M women’s tennis team hosted the No. 19 Florida Gators at the Mitchell Tennis Center on Sunday, March 3. In the second match of SEC play, the Aggies came out on top as they edged out the Gators, 4-3.

These two programs have quite the history together as the Gators put up six straight wins against the Aggies from 2015 to 2019. However, in recent times, luck has leaned in favor of the Maroon and White as A&M extended its winning streak against Florida to six in a row with this victory.

The Gators started strong in doubles, with the Florida combo of graduate Carly Briggs and sophomore Rachel Gailis defeating A&M’s team of sophomore Nicole Khirin and fifth year Sydney Fitch 6-2 on Court 3.

A&M rallied in the two other matches to secure the doubles point. On Court 2, the Aggies’ duo of freshman Lucciana Perez and junior Jeanette Mireles took down the Gators’ team of juniors Bente Spee and Alicia Dudeney, 6-1.

Then, A&M’s No. 4 team of sophomore Mia Kupres and junior Mary Stoiana defeated Florida’s freshman duo of Malwina Rowinska and Qavia Lopez, 6-2 on Court 1.

With a 1-0 lead and all the momentum, the Fightin’ Farmers were off and running as singles play kicked off.

A&M’s No. 19 Khirin was the first solo Aggie to secure a point, taking down No. 57 Briggs in two lopsided matches, 6-1, 6-2 on Court 2. It was her seventh win in a row and seventh ranked win this season.

To give themselves an early 3-0 lead, the Aggies’ Mireles handled the Gators’ Rowinska in two quick sets 6-3, 6-2 on Court 6.

Sitting down 3-0 with the match on the line, the Gators got their heads in the game, securing two wins of their own.

On Court 5 Florida’s Lopez took down A&M sophomore Daria Smetannikov, 6-4, 6-2.

Next up for the Gators was Dudeney defeating the Aggies’ Perez in two sets, 6-4, 6-3.
After dropping two straight matches to the Gators, things seemed rather bleak for the Aggies with just a 3-2 lead.

However, over on Court 1, the Maroon and White’s saving grace in the No. 1 player in the country Stoiana clutched up and clinched the win for A&M as she took down Florida’s No. 40 Gailis in two identical sets, 6-4, 6-4, for 19th win of the year.

With the win secured for A&M, the final match went the way of the Gators as on Court 3, senior Sara Dahlstrom upset the Aggies’ No. 29 Kupres in three tough sets, 7-5, 2-6, 1-0(11).

After defeating Florida, A&M now boasts a record of 10 wins and five losses, 2-0 in SEC play. This was a huge win for A&M, as it has struggled against ranked opponents this season.

“I thought we played well but not to the best of our ability,” coach Mark Weaver said. “Florida is one of the best programs in the nation and one of our rivals, and fortunately today we got the best of them. I am happy with a good, tough SEC win.”

The Aggies, despite a slow start to the season, have now strung together five consecutive wins and will next be in action on Friday, March 8 at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre taking on the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville, Mississippi.

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Matthew Seaver
Matthew Seaver, Sports Reporter
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