No. 24 Texas A&M edges No. 6 Women's Tennis, 4-3
April 17, 2012
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - No. 6 Texas (13-6, 6-1 Big 12) picked up singles wins from Elizabeth Begley, Cierra Gaytan-Leach and Lina Padegimaite, but No. 24 Texas A&M (14-4, 5-2 Big 12) posted a 4-3 victory over the Horns Tuesday evening in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown at A&M's Mitchell Tennis Center.
Texas A&M opened the doubles session with a win at third doubles, as Sheri Olivier and Lauren Santacroce dealt UT's Begley and Aeriel Ellis an 8-3 defeat. The Horns responded with a win at second doubles. UT's 42nd-ranked tandem of Padegimaite and Noel Scott broke A&M's Janelle Cuthbertson and Nazari Urbina to take a 3-1 lead before holding serve for a 4-1 cushion. The Aggies held and broke to pull within 4-3, but Texas responded with another break of serve before holding serve for a 6-3 lead. A&M held and broke to pull to 6-5, but Texas broke the Aggies once more and held serve to preserve an 8-5 win.
At four-all at first singles, A&M's Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Wen Sun broke the serve of UT's Krista Damico and Gaytan-Leach to assume a 6-4 lead. The two teams held serve the rest of the way, as A&M went on to an 8-5 win to preserve the doubles point.
Texas A&M pushed its lead to 2-0 behind a 6-3, 6-0 win from the eighth-ranked Sanchez-Quintanar over the 62nd-ranked Damico. Texas' Begley improved to 7-0 in conference play and cut the Aggies' lead to 2-1 with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Olivier at sixth singles. The Aggies extended their lead to 3-1 when the 83rd-ranked Wen notched a 6-2, 6-0 win over UT's Scott at third singles.
Texas stayed alive and pulled within 3-2, as Padegimaite finished off a 6-1, 6-2 win over Janine Erasmus at fifth singles to mark her ninth consecutive win. UT's Gaytan-Leach held an opportunity to even the match at three with a win in a second-set tiebreaker, and she delivered. Gaytan-Leach took the first set over A&M's Santacroce at fourth singles, 6-3 and trailed 5-4 in the second set before sending the set to a tiebreaker. Santacroce took the first point, but Gaytan-Leach raced to a 7-4 tiebreak win to even the match at three.
The deciding match came down to second singles, where A&M's Urbina took the first set off of UT's Ellis, 6-2. Urbina took a 5-0 lead in the second set before Ellis held serve and broke Urbina to close within 5-2. However, Urbina broke Ellis' serve in the next game to close out the match, 6-2 and preserve the victory for A&M.
Texas maintains a 9.0-4.0 lead in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown, the all-sports competition between the two schools. The Horns can clinch at least a share of the Big 12 regular-season crown this weekend with wins on the road at Oklahoma (Saturday, April 21) and Oklahoma State (Sunday, April 22).
On wins at Nos. four, five and six singles: At four, five and six, those girls are playing so well. They really feel good about their games. We have to get back on form at the top three spots, but four, five and six have been working hard, and they're feeling it right now.
On Cierra Gaytan-Leach winning the second-set tiebreaker to tie the match: She's feeling very confident now, and she's got a good sense of herself. You can't say enough about it.
On Lina Padegimaite winning her ninth consecutive match: She's hitting her stride now. That's what we want to see. She's getting comfortable playing on a hard court. She has played primarily on clay. She's had to figure this out. It's a completely different style of play, a more aggressive style. She's had to adapt and has done a really good job.
No. 24 Texas A&M 4, No. 6 Texas 3
Doubles - Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1
1 #50 Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar /Wen Sun (TAMU) def. Krista Damico/Cierra Gaytan-Leach (UT) - 8-5
Singles - Order of Finish: 1, 6, 3, 5, 4, 2
1 #8 Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (TAMU) def. #62 Krista Damico (UT) - 6-3, 6-0