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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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A&M women’s tennis keeps winning streak alive with victory over Florida

Photo by Connor May

Senior Carson Branstine celebrating a successful serve at Mitchell Outdoor Tennis Center on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023.

No. 2 Texas A&M women’s tennis began conference play on Friday, March 3, in Gainesville, Florida and defeated the No. 24 University of Florida Gators 5-2.
“Luckily, last year we got some experience … playing Florida at the SEC tournament last year, we had a really close match with them and grinded it out, and our team was not even 100% that day,” senior Carson Branstine said. “We’re a better team this year.”
On Court 1, undefeated maroon and white doubles partners Branstine and sophomore Mary Stoiana rallied with blue and orange sophomores Alicia Dudeney and Bente Spee. The unbeaten duo had the only winning doubles match for a majority of doubles play. Branstine and Stoiana continued their unconquered streak with a 6-0 win.
“We have our go-to plays, and the chemistry is just kind of there,” Stoiana said. “So, kind of just working to be better and better each match,”
Aggie graduates Jayci Goldsmith and Salma Ewing went against Gator senior Carly Briggs and freshman Rachel Gailis on Court 2. The Fightin’ Farmers doubles pair remained slightly behind their opponents as they started evenly matched but began to slip as the match progressed. The match tied up in Set 5. Goldsmith and Ewing fell to Briggs and Gailis 7-5.
On Court 3, the third doubles matchup was between A&M’s sophomore Gianna Pielet and freshman Mia Kupres and Florida’s sophomore Emily De Oliveira and freshman Sophie Williams. After the fall of Court 2, Court 3 tied up the match again in Set 6. Pielet and Kupres lost in their match 7-6, allowing the Gators to take the doubles point.
“We played them earlier in the season and had a tough match with them,” coach Mark Weaver said.
This was only the second match of the season where the Aggies lost the doubles point. Historically, the maroon and white have won six total times against the blue and orange, but Florida has beat out A&M nine times.
Five out of the six doubles players remained on the courts for singles. Pielet was replaced with freshman Daria Smetannikov on Court 6. With all of the singles matches in Sets 2 and 3, the Aggies were winning on half of the courts, with Branstine, Goldsmith and Smetannikov.
During Set 1, Ewing, Stoiana and Kupres had each only won one set while their opponents had won two, three and four sets each. Stoiana began to pull ahead of Briggs with a score of 5-3.
“We know their players well, and they know our players well,” Weaver said.
By the time that the first sets were secured on three of six courts, Stoiana was tied 5-5. Branstine, Goldsmith and Smetannikov continued to lead their singles matches, while Ewing began to turn her match around with a score of 5-4. Kupres was the only Aggie not tied or in the lead, as she was down 6-2 and 3-0.
To tie up the match as a whole for the maroon and white, Goldsmith was victorious over De Oliveira with a score of 6-2, 6-1 on Court 5. At the time she won, Stoiana pulled ahead of Briggs once again and led by one set. Kupres fell to Gailis with a score of 6-2, 6-0, pushing Florida ahead to 2-1 overall.
Smetannikov evened the score for the Aggies with her win over Spee. Stoiana and Branstine at that point were winning against Briggs and Dahlstrom while Ewing was tied up with Dudeney. Branstine soon won her singles match and pushed the maroon and white up on the scoreboard and to 3-2 overall with her win over Dahlstrom 6-3, 4-6 and 6-3. Stoiana defeated Briggs 7-6, 7-6 and clinched the match. Ewing won her singles match as well to boost the Aggies to a 5-2 victory.
“No matter what the conditions are, we’re going to go out there and win,” Branstine said.
A&M women’s tennis will stay on the road for a match in Columbia, South Carolina against the University of South Carolina on Sunday, March 5 at 11 a.m.

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About the Contributor
Kylie Stoner
Kylie Stoner, Associate Sports Editor
Kylie is a journalism senior from Keller, minoring in communication and sport management. She is the Associate Sports Editor with a passion for women's sports. After graduation, Kylie hopes to pursue a career in sports media or communications.
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