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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Queens of the court: Women’s tennis to return

Senior+Jayci+Goldsmith+hits+a+ball+back+to+Leopoldine+Boisseau+during+their+singles+match+at+the+Mitchell+Tennis+Center+on+Friday%2C+May+6%2C+2022.
Photo by Robert O’Brien

Senior Jayci Goldsmith hits a ball back to Leopoldine Boisseau during their singles match at the Mitchell Tennis Center on Friday, May 6, 2022.

The Texas A&M women’s tennis team will kickstart its 2022-23 season with an appearance in the North Carolina State Invitational from Sept. 22-25. The Aggies are coming off their most successful season after competing in the NCAA Tournament last spring. 

In the 2021 season, the maroon and white went 33-2 and won the first double conference championship in program history. Five out of the six starters will return to the squad, including ITA All-Americans senior Carson Branstine and graduate Jayci Goldsmith. 

In addition, the team brings in the nation’s third-ranked signing class, according to the Tennis Recruiting Network. Four new freshmen arrived in Aggieland this year, including Lizanne Boyer from Dallas, Avery Esquivel from Austin, Daria Smetannikov from Marlboro, N.J. and Mia Kupres from Edmonton, Alberta.

The Aggies lost a key player in Tatiana Makarova after she graduated at the end of last season. Makarova was one of the main components in A&M’s success with Goldsmith, as the duo was ranked No. 3 in doubles. Now, Branstine and Goldsmith are set to lead the team as it hopes for another deep postseason run.

Branstine held a 17-9 record in singles last year as well as a 21-3 record in doubles. After defeating No. 1 Eryn Cayetano of USC 6-4, 6-3 during ITA Indoors, the Orange, Calif., native owned the highest-ranked singles victory in the program’s history. Fellow All-American Goldsmith ended last season with a 29-3 singles record and went 35-7 overall in doubles play with a 15-5 record against nationally ranked opponents. 

Head coach Mark Weaver will return for his 24th season with the team after being honored as the SEC Coach of the Year and ITA Texas Region Coach of the Year at the conclusion of last season. Weaver has led the team to 22 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, eight Round of 16 berths, five conference championships, two Elite Eight appearances and Texas A&M’s first trip to the NCAA Championship Final match in 2013. 

Two-time ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year, Jordan Szabo, was also recently promoted to associate head coach. After his own career at A&M, he served as a student assistant before taking his talents to Texas Tech to help its team. He then returned to Aggieland to serve under Weaver and has played a monumental role in developing Goldsmith and Branstine. 

The Aggies currently have several players ranked nationally in both singles and doubles play from the ITA Preseason Rankings. Goldsmith is No. 109 in singles and No. 21 in doubles with Branstine. Branstine currently sits at No. 9 in singles while Stoiana comes in at No. 58 in singles rankings.

Kupres earned a No. 9 ranking on the Freshman/Newcomer preseason rankings with a current UTR of 10.93 that equals the highest from an incoming signee since the Aggies signed sophomore Jeanette Mireles in 2021. Kupres holds a career-high No. 95 ITF World Junior Ranking as well as a personal-best WTA Pro Ranking of 1312.

With the ITA Texas Regional Championships happening at the same time as the Wolfpack Invitational, it is currently unknown which players will compete in Cary, N.C., or in Fort Worth this weekend. The team will split its athletes across the two events and members of the roster that qualify will still travel to North Caroline to participate in the ITA All-American Championships on Oct. 1-9 in Cary.

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