LAS CRUCES – Juniors Aleksa Costa and Sophia Marks became the first ranked doubles team in the history of the New Mexico State women’s tennis program, as the Aggies’ top duo were ranked No. 52 in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association that recently released its first poll of the spring season.
Marks (Grantham, England) and Costa’s (Sao Paulo, Brazil) 9-7 victory over the then 31st-ranked doubles team of Steffi Wong and Brittany Blalock from Cal Poly in the Cal State Fullerton Intercollegiates back on Oct. 10 propelled the two into the national rankings for the first time. The two also came in as the No. 6 doubles team in the central region after going 3-3 together in fall play, with one of those losses coming to a ranked opponent.
Head coach Don Ball said that Costa and Marks represent his best doubles team that he’s had on the women’s side since 1998 when Jamie Hooper and Simone Bock were named to the All-Big West Conference first team.
“They (Costa and Marks) have gotten better every match and every month since they’ve been together,” Ball said. “They certainly do play extremely well as a team and we hope they keep growing. The trick in a pro-set doubles match is to eliminate mistakes and they have drastically reduced those, which we hope continues this spring.”
Last year, Costa and Marks became just the second Aggie doubles team to earn all-WAC honors as the two were named to the league’s second team. They posted a 9-12 record together in dual matches, playing exclusively at the No. 1 doubles position for NMSU.
Three Aggies on the men’s side were ranked regionally in singles and two of their doubles teams were also ranked.
Junior Gustave Diep came in at No. 10 in the ITA Mountain Region, senior Roman Stoisavljevic was ranked No. 13 and sophomore Jim Brouleau was No. 16. In the doubles rankings, Stoisavljevic and junior Eduardo Salas were ranked No. 9 regionally and Brouleau and Diep were two spots behind them at No. 11.
The NMSU women’s tennis team opens the spring season with three matches in Las Vegas, Nev., Jan. 23-25. The Aggies’ Jan. 24 match with No. 39 UNLV highlights their opening weekend. New Mexico State’s men’s team kicks off its season, Jan. 31-Feb. 1, with three matches at the NMSU Tennis Center.