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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

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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The Northgate district right adjacent to the Texas A&M campus houses a street of bars and other restaurants.  
Programs look to combat drunk driving
Alexia Serrata, JOUR 203 contributor • May 10, 2024
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Junior Mary Stoiana reacts during Texas A&M’s match against Oklahoma at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Regional at Mitchell Tennis Center on Sunday, May 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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No. 13 Texas A&M women’s tennis met Virginia in the quarterfinal of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 17 at the Greenwood Tennis Center...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies aiming for third trophy in one season

Junior%26%23160%3BRenee+McBryde+follows+through+after+hitting+a+backhand+shot.
Photo by Paul Burke

Junior Renee McBryde follows through after hitting a backhand shot.

“These are memories that are going to last us a lifetime,” Texas A&M women’s tennis coach Mark Weaver said. “But, let’s enjoy this for what it is — take a few days off and let’s get back to work — let’s hold three trophies for our mural we’re going to put up in our locker room.”

The job is not yet finished, but that doesn’t mean the 2022 season has been anything less than magical.

After a 2021 campaign that saw the team go 21-8, losing in the SEC Championship game and in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, the Aggies have improved in nearly every regard. On Sunday, April 17, the team earned the SEC regular-season title, and a week later, on Sunday, April 24, the Aggies brought home the SEC Tournament title as well.

The SEC Tournament Finals proved to be the easiest game of the tournament, as the Aggies swept the No. 14 Bulldogs 4-0 in a decisive victory — revenge for last year’s SEC title game when the roles were reversed in a 4-0 sweep.

After receiving a first-round bye, the No. 6 Aggies, who were 27-1 on the season — 13-0 against SEC teams — faced off with unranked Vanderbilt on Friday, April 22 at the SEC Tournament in Gainesville, Fla.

After the duo of freshman Gianna Pielet and senior Renee McBryde as well as the No. 3 duo of graduate student Tatiana Makarova and junior Jayci Goldsmith proved to be too much for Vandy early, A&M took a 1-0 lead into doubles play, which escalated to 3-0 after singles wins rolled in from No. 15 junior Carson Branstine and No. 20 Makarova.

But, the Commodores fought back with wins on courts 5 and 6, narrowing the score to 3-2. However, Goldsmith quelled any comeback dreams from Nashville, Tenn., with a strong 6-4, 7-6 victory on Court 4.

“We are always pleased when we are able to put four points up there on the board. I knew it would be a challenging match, in the sense that Vanderbilt had already played a dual match here on these courts this week and it was our first match here,” Weaver told 12thMan.com. “With that being said, we need all three doubles and all six singles ready to go tomorrow against a tough hometown environment here in Florida.”

And a tough environment it was for the Aggies in the semifinals. No. 15 Florida, playing on its own courts, proved to be the toughest test for A&M the whole weekend. The Makarova-Goldsmith and Pielet-McBryde duos got the job done again in dual play, but action slowed down in singles.

Branstine got a big-time win over Florida’s No. 11 graduate student McCartney Kessler, but two dropped matches — once more on courts 6 and 5 — brought Florida to a stalemate with A&M, 2-2.

Needing to win on two of the remaining three courts, Goldsmith came up big with a straight-set 6-2, 7-5 victory on Court 4. But, after No. 70 freshman Mary Stoiana lost 6-3, 6-3 to Florida’s freshman Alicia Dudeney, the Aggies’ title hopes fell on the shoulders of Makarova.

Makarova, as she had done many times before during her five seasons at A&M, secured the victory. The Moscow native, who is top four in program history in both singles and doubles wins, earned a tight 7-6, 6-4 win over Florida’s No. 70 senior Marlee Zein.

“I’ve actually experienced something like that before back when I was a sophomore during the NCAA Tournament. I clinched our team match against Rice in the first round. I was down in the third set, but I was able to pull it out in the end,” Makarova told 12thMan.com. “The feeling of being rushed by my teammates afterward was one of the best things I can remember from earlier in my career. It felt exactly the same for me today.

“Everything played over again in my mind. When I saw that I was the last match on, I just buckled in and did my best to help pull this win out for our team. I knew what I needed to do, and I’m glad that I was able to get it done today.”

Ironically, the easiest win of the tournament was the last. Against No. 14 Georgia, the third seed in the bracket, A&M secured a simple 4-0 sweep over the defending SEC Tournament champions.

Stoiana and Branstine got a quick 6-3 win on Court 2 in doubles play soon followed up by a 6-4 win from Makarova and Goldsmith. Goldsmith would then earn the first singles win of the day, a dominant 6-2, 6-1 win over Georgia’s No. 120 graduate student Meg Kowalski. Makarova followed with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Georgia’s No. 84 freshman Dasha Vidmanova, and the deal was secured by Stoiana in a simple 6-2, 6-2, straight-set victory, securing the Aggies their title.

“There are no words to describe it,” Stoiana told 12theMan.com. “It feels amazing that I could clinch the championship, because it really shows that the whole team’s hard work and everyone’s support is paying off.”

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