COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M women’s tennis team will enter the 2014 season ranked No. 7 in the nation, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced. It is the Aggies’ highest season-opening ranking in program history.
Third-year head coach Howard Joffe returns five letterwinners from last year’s history-setting team that was an all-time high No. 3 in the final ranking after going 26-4 and advancing to the NCAA national championship match, where A&M fell to Stanford, 4-3. Joffe will be counting on one senior, four sophomores and four freshmen this season as the Aggies aim to defend their Southeastern Conference title and make another run at the national championship.
“With such a young group we certainly have our work cut out for us if we are to be amongst the nation’s elite teams,” Joffe said. “We undoubtedly have as talented a team as anyone in the country. During the fall we were able to cure ourselves of some injuries and some immaturity, and if we can continue this, I fully expect the 2014 Aggies to enjoy a great measure of success.”
Cristina Stancu, the team’s lone senior, pulled in a No. 14 preseason ranking in singles after posting a 15-4 record during the fall. The Romanian, who entered the fall season ranked 48th, reached the semifinals of the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships and earned an automatic berth in the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships by winning the singles title at the ITA Texas Regional.
Stancu and sophomore Stefania Hristov are No. 22 in the preseason doubles rankings. The pair went 7-5 during the fall. In addition, sophomore Ines Deheza and freshman Rutuja Bhosale are No. 51 in the preseason doubles rankings.
Stanford is the No. 1 in the team rankings. Thirteen of 14 teams from the Southeastern Conference are listed in the preseason rankings, including No. 2 Florida and No. 4 Georgia, who both tied A&M for the SEC title last year.
In the individual rankings, Robin Anderson of UCLA is No. 1 in singles as well as doubles with partner Jennifer Brady.
The Aggies open spring practice on Monday, Jan. 6 and compete at the Palm Springs Tournament Jan. 17-19 before opening the dual season on Saturday, Jan. 25 as A&M hosts Mississippi State, DePaul and San Jose State in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
Season tickets for the Stadium Club, which offers covered, courtside seating exclusively to season ticket holders, are now on sale. They are $125 each and are good for all men’s and women’s regular-season home matches. Season tickets can be purchased online at http://tickets.12thmanfoundation.com/tennis/season-tickets.aspx, by phone at 888-992-4443, or in person at the Ticket Center’s Kyle Field location.
Visit AggieAthletics.com for more information on Texas A&M women’s tennis. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M women’s tennis team on Twitter by following @AggieWTEN or on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Aggie-Womens-Tennis/143874782434654