BRYAN, Texas – The Texas A&M women’s tennis team spoiled Texas Tech’s Big 12 Conference opener tonight, defeating the Lady Raiders, 5-2, at the City of Bryan Tennis Center after inclement weather forced the match to be played indoors.
It was the Aggies’ 25th consecutive victory against Texas Tech, which has not defeated A&M since 1987 and drops to 1-32 all-time against the Aggies.
“This was a much-needed win,” A&M coach Bobby Kleinecke said after the Aggies snapped their two-match losing skid and evened their Big 12 record at 1-1. “We had to come out and win tonight. Tech has a very good team, and I commend them. This was a lot closer than the score indicated.”
A&M (5-6, 1-1 Big 12) narrowly won the doubles point. At the No. 1 line, Tech’s 57th-ranked duo of Kelsy Garland and Samantha van der Drift gave the Lady Raiders an early edge with an 8-3 victory over Stephanie Davidson and Lauren Santacroce, who was playing in place of Janelle Cuthbertson who was out with an ankle injury.
A&M’s Christi Liles also was suffering from an ankle injury but teamed with Morgan Frank at the No. 2 line, where the duo managed to fight back from a 5-2 deficit to defeat Stefanie Peana and Kerryn Potgieter, 9-8 (5).
Sheri Olivier and Elzé Potgieter — no relation to Kerryn — won 9-7 against Natalie Leitch and Simone Templeton at the No. 3 line to clinch the doubles point.
“The doubles point, really we got very fortunate to win,” Kleinecke said. “We are going to have to get a lot better to be able to compete for this (Big 12) title.”
With only three courts at the indoor facility, Nos. 1-3 took to the courts to open singles. Frank, ranked No. 98, ended Garland’s four-match winning streak with a 6-1, 6-2 victory at No. 2. With Liles sitting out singles, Santacroce moved up to the No. 3 line and defeated Templeton, 6-1, 6-1, to put the Aggies up, 3-0.
“It was unfortunate with Christi’s injury,” Kleinecke said. “We tried to play her in the doubles, and she just didn’t move well in the doubles. I just didn’t think that we needed to give that match away, so as the way it turned out, I’m glad we did it that way.”
Elzé Potgieter battled through a leg injury suffered in the first set to defeat van der Drift, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, at the No. 1 line to clinch the winning point for the Aggies. It was Potgieter’s team-leading fourth consecutive singles win.
With A&M already having the win in hand, the final three matches were determined by a 10-point super tiebreaker after each court split the first two sets.
Olivier won her tiebreaker over Peana, 10-8, to complete a 3-6, 6-4, 1-0 victory at No. 5 to put the Aggies up, 5-0. It was the final point for the Aggies as Tech won the last two matches standing to prevent the shutout.
Leitch defeated Davidson, 7-6 (5), 5-7, 1-0 (5) at No. 4, and Kerryn Potgieter topped Ashley Turpin, 3-6, 6-2, 1-0 (6) to close out the match.
“This was a good college match and it could have gone either way,” Kleinecke said. “I think Tech has an excellent team. If we play them again in the tournament, we better be ready to play.
“I don’t really like the surroundings where you put three matches on and then another three matches and then another three matches. It can play so much into the way the match is played out, so I commend us for being able to stick through that and come away with this win.”
Tech, which entered the match riding a two-match winning streak after pulling off the biggest win in school history with a 4-3 victory over No. 21 TCU, a team that defeated A&M earlier in the season, drops to 4-5. The Lady Raiders face Baylor tomorrow in Waco.
A&M will have some time to heal its wounds, as the Aggies don’t play again until Friday, March 20, when they play host to Oklahoma State at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
“It is just important that we take some days off and get healthy and get back ready to play again,” Kleinecke said. “We’ve got Oklahoma State a week from tomorrow and so we’ve got some time to kind of rest mentally and physically and get healed up a little bit and then see where we can go from there. “
(47) Texas A&M 5, (62) Texas Tech 2
March 12, 2009
City of Bryan (Indoor) Tennis Center
1. Elzé Potgieter (A&M) def. Samantha van der Drift (TTU), 4-6, 6-1, 6-3
2. (98) Morgan Frank (A&M) def. Kelsy Garland (TTU), 6-1, 6-2
3. Lauren Santacroce (A&M) def. Simone Templeton (TTU), 6-1, 6-1
4. Natalie Leitch (TTU) def. Stephanie Davidson (A&M), 7-6 (5), 5-7, 1-0 (5)
5. Sheri Olivier (A&M) def. Stefanie Peana (TTU), 3-6, 6-4, 1-0 (8)
6. Kerryn Potgieter (TTU) def. Ashley Turpin (A&M), 3-6, 6-2, 1-0 (6)
Doubles (A&M wins the point)
1. (57) Garland/van der Drift (TTU) def. Davidson/Santacroce (A&M), 8-3
2. Frank/Liles (A&M) def. Peana/K. Potgieter (TTU), 9-8 (5)
3. Olivier/E. Potgieter (A&M) def. Leitch/Templeton (TTU), 9-7
Order of finish:
Doubles: 1, 2, 3
Singles: 2, 3, 1*, 5, 4, 6
Texas A&M: 5-6, 1-1 Big 12
Texas Tech: 4-5, 0-1 Big 12
2009 NCAA Tennis Championships: Texas A&M will host the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships, May 14-25, at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas. Tickets can be purchased online at 12ManFoundation.com or by calling 1-888-99-AGGIE.