COLLEGE STATION, Texas — No. 7 Texas A&M women’s tennis cruised past the Baylor Bears in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday afternoon by a 4-1 margin at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. With the win, the Aggies advance to their third consecutive Round of 16 and the eighth overall in program history.
The Aggies’ winningest season in school annals continues, as the Maroon & White climb to 32-1 overall highlighted by an ongoing 23-match win streak. A&M has not dropped a match since falling in heartbreaking 4-3 fashion to the California Golden Bears in the opening round of the ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships on February 11. In defeat, Baylor concludes its season at 16-9 overall.
For the 31st time in 33 opportunities, the Aggies took a 1-0 advantage after doubles play. Matches were tightly contested at all three positions, but the Maroon & White toppled Baylor at the No. 1 and No. 3 spots to seal the opening point. Renee McBryde and Gianna Pielet kicked the action off with a 6-3 win over Paula Baranano and Anita Sahdiieva at the third line, recording their second win together during NCAA Tournament play. Meanwhile, the sixth-ranked tandem of Jayci Goldsmith and Tatiana Makarova matched their highest ranked win of the season at the No. 1 spot, defeating No. 7 Alicia Herrero Linana and Mel Krywoj by a 6-4 score. No. 47 Carson Branstine and Mary Stoiana were deadlocked in a 5-5 match with Isabella Harvison and Alina Shcherbinina as play was suspended.
A&M utilized the momentum from a raucous Mitchell Tennis Center crowd and a strong doubles showing to take five-of-six first sets in singles. No. 24 Makarova earned the Aggies only ranked win of the afternoon, crushing No. 108 Herrero Linana in a 6-3, 6-0 straight-set triumph. The Bears responded on court one with their only point of the match, just before No. 74 Stoiana completed her 6-3, 6-1 romp of Krywoj. Stoiana notched her second win over Krywoj this season, previously defeating her Baylor opponent in three sets during the fall tournament campaign.
Jeanette Mireles booked her second clinch win of the NCAA Tournament on court six and her fourth overall this season, logging a steady 6-3, 6-2 victory over Baranano to advance A&M to the next round. Goldsmith was one game away from putting a point on the board for the Maroon & White, while Pielet had just dropped her first set in a boisterous tiebreaker as play was suspended.
A&M recorded its 31st victory in the NCAA Tournament since its first appearance in the 1986 campaign. Under the direction of seventh-year head coach Mark Weaver, the Maroon & White have compiled a 10-5 tournament record and have advanced to the Round of 16 on four occasions. Weaver now owns the A&M women’s tennis record for the most Sweet 16 appearances in a coaching career.
No. 7 Texas A&M advances to the Round of 16 and will host its next opponent at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center on Saturday, May 14. The Aggies will play SEC-rival Vanderbilt or No. 10 Ohio State, with first serve time to be announced.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Mark Weaver
On what the most impressive thing about the team was Saturday…
“I think the doubles point was key. They have a very strong number one team that we haven’t had a lot of success with, so getting that one there today made a really big difference. 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.”
On Jeanette Mireles clinching back-to-back matches at the No. 6 spot…
“Jeanette had a good start to the season. We sat her out in a few matches, but she responded very well to that. She’s worked really hard on her game along with some other things. She’s really put herself in a good position. When you’re winning that decisively at six, it sends a good message to the rest of the team. It takes a little bit of pressure off everyone. I really credit Jeanette after being out of the lineup for several weeks. I played her in the conference final and she did fine there. She really came out ready to go this weekend.”
On the improvement of the team from January until now…
“I’m very proud of our group. We’re a far better team right now than we were back in January. That’s kind of one of our big mottos all the throughout the season. I think the team may get tired of hearing of it, but it’s ‘Let’s get better today.’ I think we’re really showing it right now. We’ve done a great job of doing it every day too. It’s such a fine line in winning these matches. I’m so proud. 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 enjoy a little bit of it today and tomorrow but get back to work on Monday.”
On the crowd from the First and Second Rounds…
“The 12th Man really showed out yesterday and today, especially in some crazy heat. It was great to have them behind us and pushing us through every point. This team is special and I hope the 12th Man comes back out to support us next week in the Round of 16.”
Graduate Tatiana Makarova
On getting the first singles victory…
“I think we’re all on the same page. After doubles, no matter if we win or lose, we’re going to come into singles ready to put more points on the board. If it ends up being a fight, we just fight until the end. We’re a pretty confident group.”
On the hot weather…
“I guess heat is always a factor when you play in Texas. Honestly, I believe in our preparation and how we train. We always practice about this time of day and we’re always in the gym. I trust the process that I will be able to push myself to the limits when it’s this hot.”
On the team’s mindset on advancing to the Round of 16…
“Honestly, we’re a really confident team. 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.”
Head Coach Joey Scrivano
On today’s match…
“Tough match today. Doubles point was pretty close. Credit to A&M. They played a great match. Ultimately, I’m really proud of our team. They battled all season long. It’s not easy to make it to this stage of the tournament. They’ve done a remarkable job, and I’m really proud of them.”
TENNIS MATCH RESULTS
NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championships – Second Round
#7 Texas A&M 4, Baylor 1
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center – Bryan-College Station, Texas
1. Isabella Harvison (BU) def. #8 Carson Branstine (TAMU) 6-3, 6-2
2. #24 Tatiana Makarova (TAMU) def. #108 Alicia Herrero Linana (BU) 6-3, 6-0
3. #74 Mary Stoiana (TAMU) def. Mel Krywoj (BU) 6-3, 6-1
4. Jayci Goldsmith (TAMU) vs. Alina Shcherbinina (BU) 6-4, 5-3, unfinished
5. Gianna Pielet (TAMU) vs. Anita Sahdiieva (BU) 6-7(13), unfinished
6. Jeanette Mireles (TAMU) def. Paula Baranano (BU) 6-3, 6-2
1. #6 Jayci Goldsmith / Tatiana Makarova (TAMU) def. #7 Alicia Herrero Linana / Mel Krywoj (BU) 6-4
2. #47 Carson Branstine / Mary Stoiana (TAMU) vs. Isabella Harvison / Alina Shcherbinina (BU) 5-5, unfinished
3. Renee McBryde / Gianna Pielet (TAMU) def. Paula Baranano / Anita Sahdiieva (BU) 6-3
Order of Finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (2,1,3,6)
• Texas A&M advances to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in program history.
• The Aggies will host the Round of 16 for the first time in program history at the Mitchell Tennis Center.
• A&M improves to 31-26 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
• Head Coach Mark Weaver is 10-5 in the NCAA Tournament.
• The Maroon & White improve to 14-0 at home against non-conference opponents and 247-65 when playing at the friendly confines of the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
• Texas A&M is 30-1 when clinching the doubles point.
• Graduate Tatiana Makarova won her 27th consecutive singles match.
• Freshman Jeanette Mireles earned her fourth clinch-win of the season and second straight. Mireles’ four clinch wins places her in third on the team, tied with Gianna Pielet.