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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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Clinched: A&M women’s tennis to regional championships

Photo by Photo by Kyle Heise
Freshman Lucciana Perez embraces sophomore Nicole Khirin after Texas A&M’s doubles victory against Northwestern at Mitchell Outdoor Tennis Center on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)

Nearly 200 spectators filled the stands of the Mitchell Tennis Complex on a gusty Saturday as Texas A&M women’s tennis dominated Northwestern 4-0.

“I thought the crowd was very vocal in the doubles especially,” coach Weaver said. 

Doubles play

After an emphatic win in Game 2 on Court 1 by graduate Christina Hand and junior Justine Leong, the Aggies and the Wildcats tied to the visual displeasure of junior Mary Stoiana and sophomore Mia Kupres.

Stoiana flew across Court 1 for a big return that the Wildcats hit out of bounds. The tenacity of the No. 3 doubles pair in the country was visible on the court as Stoiana and Kupres leveled 2-2.

Court 5 with sophomore Daria Smetannikov and fifth year Sydney Fitch against Britany Lau with Maria Shusharina battled it out throughout the set. 

Sophomore Nicole Khirin and freshman Lucciana Perez fell 3-1 to Sydney Pratt and Elisa Van Meeteren on Court 3. After a return by the Wildcats hit the net on Court 3, the Aggies leveled 3-3 on all three courts. Surging past the initial defeats, Courts 1 and 3 were up 30-love with Court 5 winning a fourth game point.

Weaver argued with the chair umpire on Court 3 as Khirin and Perez backed him up over a call providing the Wildcats with 15.

In true ranked fashion, Stoiana and Kupres won on Court 1, 6-4, to get halfway to the doubles point for the Aggies.

A 40-love to earn the doubles point was squandered on Court 3 as Pratt and Van Meeteren came back for a deuce which earned the Wildcats the game. Courts 3 and 5 both had tie breaks to attempt to seal the point.

The doubles point was half earned by each side as Court 5 was won by the Wildcats, and it was up to Court 3 to decide. The doubles point was clinched by the Aggies as Khirin and Perez outplayed the Wildcats at match point.

Singles play

No. 1 in singles play in the nation, Stoiana, took the lead immediately on Court 1 over Shusharina with a two-set lead. Stoiana led 4-0 for a majority of the match, but lost a game in Set 1 to the Wildcats’ Court 1 player. 

Sailing ahead, Stoiana won Set 1 6-1 and led throughout Set 2 until she claimed the win. Winning 6-1 in each set, she earned the second point for the Aggies and remained undefeated on the day.

“As always, Mary Stoiana continues to impress and really took care of business,” Weaver said. 

Khirin led by two on Court 2 over the Wildcats’ Leong. She kept her momentum going as she climbed her way up to a 5-1 lead. Khirin advanced to a 40-15 game lead and confidently gave the official a one signal to show her win which eventually led to her winning Set 1.

Adding to the tally was Khirin as she defeated Leong 6-1 and 7-5 to bring A&M one point away from victory.

Alternatively, the Aggies were down by two on Courts 5 and 6 with Mireles and Smetannikov unable to match their competitors. By the fifth game, Mireles pulled ahead 3-2 while Smetannikov was down 2-3.

On Court 3, Hand screamed with joy and success as she got the upperhand over No. 26 Kupres in a 2-1 lead. Her intensity remained throughout the games as she dominated Kupres 4-2.

Three tie breaks hit the scoreboard simultaneously as Courts 3, 4 and 6 were even, but Courts 3 and 4 forged ahead for Northwestern.

Smetannikov rallied 7-5 in Set 1 against junior Kiley Rabjohns. She clinched the fourth point and the match for the Maroon and White with a 6-3 score in Set 2.

The Aggies will play TCU on Sunday, Jan. 27 with first serve at 12 p.m. 

“It’ll be another battle there,” Weaver said.

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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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