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A&M women’s tennis wins 4-3 thriller versus Tennessee

Freshman+Lucciana+Perez+smiling+at+doubles+partner+junior+Jeanette+Mireles+during+Texas+A%26amp%3BMs+game+against+SMU+on+Tuesday%2C+Feb.+27%2C+2024+at+Mitchell+Tennis+Center.+%28Hannah+Harrison%2FThe+Battalion%29
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Freshman Lucciana Perez smiling at doubles partner junior Jeanette Mireles during Texas A&M’s game against SMU on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024 at Mitchell Tennis Center. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

The No. 14 Texas A&M women’s tennis team went down to the wire against No. 22 Tennessee, picking up the 4-3 win on Sunday, March 17 at Barksdale Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The day didn’t begin the way the Aggies hoped with the No. 51 duo of senior Esther Adeshina and graduate Alana Wolfberg defeating freshman Lucciana Perez and junior Jeanette Mireles, 6-2. Fifth-year Sydney Fitch and sophomore Nicole Khirin managed to tie it up for the Maroon and White, winning 6-4 against seniors Eleonora Molinaro and Lauren Anzalotta.

In a massive upset, the Volunteers’ No. 57 pair of junior Elza Tomase and senior Sofia Cabezas managed to defeat No. 6 junior Mary Stoiana and sophomore Mia Kupres 7-6(5) after it went to a tiebreaker.

With A&M down 1-0 going into singles, Khirin made sure to quickly erase the gap by sweeping graduate Alana Wolfberg 6-4, 6-3. Mireles took over from there, beating Molinaro 6-2 in both sets to give the Aggies the advantage.

The Volunteers wouldn’t go down without a fight, tying the score at two apiece following Anzalotta’s 6-4, 7-5 victory over sophomore Daria Smetannikov. A matchup between the two teams’ number ones followed with No. 1 Stoiana facing off against No. 27 Cabezas. Stoiana took the first set 6-3 but Cabezas evened it up with a 6-4 win in the second set.

Cabezas couldn’t keep up though, with Stoiana taking home the win with a 6-3 performance in the final set. Like clockwork, Tennessee equalized with another upset after junior Elza Tomase beat No. 30 Kupres, 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

With the score tied 3-3, it was winner-take-all going into the last match of the day with A&M’s Perez going up against No. 121 sophomore Catherine Aulia. Perez started out hot, winning the first set 7-5 but couldn’t get the sweep, losing 3-6 in the second. Playing in a pivotal third set, Perez showed off her nerves of steel by making it to a tiebreaker and winning 7-6(7).

“We played the two longest matches in my coaching career that I can recall back-to-back, facing a lot of adversity on the way and we handled it all like champions,” coach Mark Weaver said. “Tennessee has a very good team and to come out with a win under some tough circumstances was great for us. I couldn’t be prouder of our group. We’re looking forward to being home this coming weekend and playing in front of the 12th Man.”

The Aggies return home from their four-game road trip to face the Vanderbilt Commodores at the Mitchell Tennis Center on Friday, March 22 at 5 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Eric Liu
Eric Liu, Sports Writer
Eric is a sophomore computer science major from Houston, TX. He is also double minoring in English and statistics. While at The Battalion, Eric has covered football, men's basketball, baseball, tennis, swim & dive and equestrian.
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