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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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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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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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M women’s tennis moves on to quarterfinals

Senior+Jayci+Goldsmith+celebrates+after+winning+her+singles+match+in+the+Sweet+Sixteen+of+the+NCAA+DI+Womens+Tennis+Championship+tournament.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Senior Jayci Goldsmith celebrates after winning her singles match in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA DI Women’s Tennis Championship tournament.

It’s always interesting facing a conference opponent in the NCAA Tournament. Yet, No. 7 Texas A&M women’s tennis faced this very predicament, having already defeated Vanderbilt 6-1 in March and 4-0 in the SEC Tournament. Defeating Vanderbilt a third time in such a high-stakes match would be a difficult task for A&M. At stake for both teams was a trip to the quarterfinals, more commonly known as the Elite Eight. Another wrinkle in the matchup was A&M had lost in the Sweet 16 two years in a row.
The Aggies got off to a great start in doubles with freshman Gianna Pielet and senior Renee McBryde defeating junior Dasha Kourkina and graduate MaryAnn Rompf 6-1. The other two doubles matches were more competitive, with each being tied at 4-4. The Aggies clinched the doubles point after junior Carson Branstine and freshman Mary Stoiana beat junior Marcella Cruz and sophomore Anessa Lee 6-4.
In singles, A&M quickly increased its lead to 3-0 behind straight-set victories from Stoiana and senior Jayci Goldsmith. On the brink of the Elite Eight, A&M found difficulty finding the matches’ clinching point. A&M punched its ticket to the next round after No. 8 Branstine impressively defeated No. 46 junior Anna Ross in straight sets.
Branstine said she was appreciative for the opportunity to clinch the tournament victory for her teammates.
“I definitely embraced it,” Branstine said. “I like those [kinds] of [situations] and that kind of pressure. It’s positive pressure and makes me want to fight even harder for my match and my team. It was exciting. I haven’t been able to get a lot of clinches this season since my teammates win so fast and are doing so great. It was fun today. I’m glad I could do that.”
A&M coach Mark Weaver said the previous matchups against Vanderbilt helped out A&M in its Sweet 16 matchup.
“Beating a team three times in a year is definitely a tricky one,” Weaver said. “I was pleased to play Vanderbilt. It was a team we were familiar with. They obviously knew our games, and we knew theirs as well. We had a good game plan on each court, and we felt good about all the matches. Vanderbilt’s coach has done a great job all season.”
Weaver also cited A&M’s lone loss to California as a pivotal moment in the team’s trek towards a national championship.
“We had high hopes going into the season, but I don’t think anyone would have thought we’d be 33-1 right now,” Weaver said. “We thought we could win the conference, and we definitely thought we had a shot at winning a national title, but to be in the position we are now is great. Our mission all year has been to win the national title. We used that California match as fuel for the season, and it has only made us stronger.”
Up next for A&M is a trip to the Atkins Tennis Center in Champaign, Ill., to face No. 2 Oklahoma. This match marks the first time A&M will be facing a higher seed in the tournament and gives the team a chance to win its first match against a top-five team this season. First serve on Friday, May 20, is set for 7 p.m.

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