April 5, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M women’s tennis team picked up its seventh consecutive victory, defeating No. 53 Colorado, 5-2, in a hard fought contest in windy conditions at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
The 33rd-ranked Aggies, riding their longest winning streak since they won eight consecutive in 2007, improve to 11-6 overall and 7-1 in the Big 12 Conference.
Colorado, which set a school record after starting conference play 5-0, drops its second straight match and falls to 9-7 overall and 5-2 in league play.
“Colorado has an excellent team, and they really fought hard all the way through,” A&M coach Bobby Kleinecke said. “We had to step up at a couple of places and make some things happen. You can’t count on that every time, but that is what college tennis is. I commend our girls and Colorado for sticking it out, having a tough match out in the wind and dealing with the elements. It wasn’t an easy day to play, but both teams did a great job of fighting through that.”
Colorado jump out to an early lead in the fight for the doubles point as Camila Belassi and Melisa Esposito won the first seven games at the No. 1 line and went on to defeat A&M’s Janelle Cuthbertson (Perth, Australia) and Christi Liles (Largo, Fla.), 8-2.
Colorado’s Michala Jensen and Abbie Probert broke serve to take an early 3-2 lead against Sheri Olivier (Topeka, Kan.) and Elzé Potgieter (Bloemfontein, South Africa) at No. 3. The lead was short lived, however, as the Aggie duo reeled off six consecutive games to win the match, improving to 12-3 in dual matches and forcing the doubles point to be decided at the No. 2 line.
A&M’s Stephanie Davidson (Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas) and Morgan Frank (Oldsmar, Fla.) and Colorado’s Ania Anuszkiewicz and Franzi Jendrian were on serve with A&M up 4-3 before the Aggie duo broke CU’s serve and then held to build a 6-3 lead. The Buffaloes held serve on the next game, but A&M won the next two games to win the match and the point.
It marked the sixth consecutive match the Aggies have won the crucial point.
“We didn’t start off to well in the doubles today,” Kleinecke said. “At No. 1, we never caught up, and at No. 3 we got back in control of the match. [Losing doubles] puts so much more pressure on you, so the point is very big. We have to find ways to play on all three courts in the doubles. We are flirting with danger right there. We need to take care of that on every court.”
Cuthbertson was first off the court in singles play. The freshman put A&M ahead, 2-0, and won her fourth consecutive match after defeating Jendrian, 6-0, 6-3, at No. 4. Frank, the reigning Big 12 Women’s Tennis Player of the Week and the 112th-ranked singles player in the nation, improved to 8-0 in Big 12 play and quickly put the Aggies ahead with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Belassi at No. 2.
“With Janelle, we always thought the talent was there,” Kleinecke said. “She is really kind of finding herself right now. I have to keep reminding myself this is her first semester just so you don’t try to put too many expectations on her. Just let her go out and play her game.
“[Morgan] puts herself in situations where she can win the sets. She’s mentally tough enough and is willing to stay out there and do whatever it takes. She is the heart of the team. With the way she is playing, that is a big boost for us.”
Although Cuthbertson and Frank posted straight-set victories to begin singles, the outcome of the match remained up for grabs, as the last four matches were back-and-forth three setters.
Aggie freshman Lauren Santacroce (Spring, Texas) put all doubts to rest as she came from behind to defeat Anuszkiewicz, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, at No. 5 and clinched the winning point.
Jensen earned the Buffaloes’ first point. After dropping her first set, 7-5, to Davidson at the No. 6 line, Jensen rebounded to win the next two sets, 6-3, 6-3.
Probert followed with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 come-from-behind victory at the No. 3 line, snapping Liles’ five-match winning streak and giving CU its final point.
Potgieter capped the day with a comeback win at No. 1. The junior lost her first set, 7-5, to Esposito, and trailed 5-3 in the second set before rallying to win the next four games to take the set and even the match. The third set was tied at 3-3 when Potgieter finished off the match by winning the next three games.
The Aggies take a break from conference play with a pair of road matches at No. 23 Michigan on Thursday and at No. 3 Notre Dame on Saturday. The match against the Wolverines begins at 2 p.m. (CDT), and first serve against the Fighting Irish is slated for 9 a.m. (CDT).
Live scoring of all A&M women’s tennis matches is available at AggieAthletics.com.
(33) Texas A&M 5, (53) Colorado 2
April 5, 2009
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
College Station, Texas
1. Elzé Potgieter (A&M) def. Melisa Esposito (CU), 5-7, 7-5, 6-3
2. (112) Morgan Frank (A&M) def. Camila Belassi (CU), 6-2, 6-1
3. Abbie Probert (CU) def. Christi Liles (A&M), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
4. Janelle Cuthbertson (A&M) def. Franzi Jendrian (CU), 6-0, 6-3
5. Lauren Santacroce (A&M) def. Ania Anuszkiewicz (CU), 2-6, 6-4, 6-1
6. Michala Jensen (CU) def. Stephanie Davidson (A&M), 5-7, 6-3, 6-3
Doubles (A&M wins the point)
1. Belassi/Esposito (CU) def. Cuthbertson/Liles (A&M), 8-2
2. Frank/Stephanie Davidson (A&M) def. Anuszkiewicz/Jendrian (CU), 8-4
3. Olivier/Potgieter (A&M) def. Jensen/Probert (CU), 8-3
Order of finish:
Doubles: 1, 3, 2,
Singles: 4, 2, 5*, 6, 3, 1
Texas A&M: 11-6, 7-1 Big 12
Colorado: 9-7, 5-2 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.