Seventh-seeded Texas A&M women’s tennis glided past the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament at the Mitchell Tennis Center this weekend.
On Friday, March 6, the Aggies faced Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, sweeping the Islanders, 4-0. Then on Saturday, March 7, A&M took on Baylor and advanced to the super regionals with a 4-1 win.
The Aggies are now 32-1 overall, continuing the winningest season in program history.
“We’re a really confident team,” Tatiana Makarova said. “Right now, we’re on this ride, and the sky’s the limit for us. We all really and truly believe that we’re going to win it.”
First Round: #7 Texas A&M 4, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 0 (Friday)
The day started with commanding performances from the Aggies’ doubles pairing of Renee McBryde and Gianna Pielet, who defeated their Corpus Christi opponents, 6-1. Carson Branstine and Mary Stoiana followed that up with a 6-1 win over their own to secure the doubles point.
Jamie Maury, TexAgs
In singles action, SEC Tournament MVP Tatiana Makarova was 2-0 on the weekend, winning both of her matches in straight sets.
“Corpus Christi has now lost only four matches all year, and two of them were to us,” Texas A&M head coach Mark Weaver said. “They are a good team. We really played them well, despite the final team score. It was actually a lot more competitive when we played them a few months ago, whereas we really took it to them out there today.”
With a 1-0 advantage from doubles play, the singles matches secured the sweep.
Stoiana and Makarova added to the preexisting lead with straight-set wins against the Islander’s Camille Townsend and Mariya Shumeika, respectively.
The 4-0 shutout was complete when Jeanette Mireles’ win (6-0, 6-0) punched the Aggies’ ticket in the second round.
“It was great to have done it with my teammates,” Mireles said. “We all did it [clinched] pretty much at the same time. It was just really cool to have gotten to experience it all together.”
Second Round: #7 Texas A&M 4, Baylor 1 (Saturday)
On Saturday, the Aggies gathered back at Mitchell Tennis Center to take the Baylor Bears.
The Aggies again made quick work of the double matches.
McBryde and Pielet held their ground to secure their match, 6-3, and the pairing of Jayci Goldsmith and Makarova joined them in the win column, 6-4, as the Aggies went up headed into singles play.
“I think the double dot was key,” Weaver said. “They have a very strong No. 1 team that we haven’t had a lot of success with, so getting that one there today made a really big difference.
“We’ve had very little time to celebrate much of anything. I don’t even know if the reality of it even has set in yet. We’re going to try and enjoy a little bit of it today and tomorrow but get back to work on Monday.”
– A&M head coach Mark Weaver
“Baylor is a very good team. To beat them that decisively is really impressive for our group. We’re just a really confident team that is playing at a high level right now.”
Three wins stood in between the Aggies and the super regional round of the NCAA Tournament.
Makarova took care of business against Alicia Herrero Linana, advancing A&M’s lead to 2-0 in straight sets (6-3, 6-0). Shortly after, Stoiana knocked off Mel Krywoj (6-3, 6-1).
Branstine fell to Baylor’s Isabella Harvison (6-3, 6-2), marking the Aggies’ first loss in the tournament.
“The good thing with Carson is she has responded very well all season when she comes off a loss,” Weaver said. “I think it motivates her and inspires her. She’ll come back stronger because of it.”
Mireles then secured the 4-1 win in straight sets (6-3, 6-2) and sent the Aggies through to round three.
“I’m very proud of our group,” Weaver said. “We’re a far better team right now than we were back in January. That’s kind of one of our big mottos all throughout the season. I think the team may get tired of hearing it, but it’s, ‘Let’s get better today.’ I think it’s showing right now. We’ve done a great job of doing it every day too. It’s such a fine line in winning these matches.”
The Aggies will host a super regional at the Mitchell Tennis Center for the first time in program history and will face either #10 Ohio State or Vanderbilt next Saturday, May 14. First serve is TBA.
“We’ve had very little time to celebrate much of anything,” Weaver said. “I don’t even know if the reality of it even has set in yet. We’re going to try and enjoy a little bit of it today and tomorrow but get back to work on Monday.”