All-division preview: No. 7 Texas A&M looks for first victory vs. No. 9 Georgia
Texas A&M puts its seven-match win streak on the line Friday as the Aggies take on No. 9 Georgia in Athens, Ga. First serve against the Bulldogs is at 5 p.m. ET at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, site of the 2014 NCAA Tennis Championships.
Seventh-ranked Texas A&M (13-3, 6-1 SEC) extended its win streak to seven with victories against No. 14 Baylor and Missouri last week. The win against the Bears was A&M’s sixth victory against a top-25 team, and the Aggies improved to 9-3 against all ranked opponents.
The Aggies, who have won 10 of their past 11 matches, will be aiming for their first win against Georgia, which is 8-0 in the all-time series. Last year, the fifth-ranked Bulldogs prevailed against the No. 3 Aggies 4-2 after a lengthy weather delay in College Station. It was A&M’s first loss in conference play after opening 8-0, and the loss also ended A&M’s record-tying 13-match overall win streak. It would be the Aggies’ only conference loss of the season, and Georgia, Texas A&M and Florida went on to finish in a three-way tie for the SEC regular-season championship title with 12-1 records.
Cristina Stancu leads A&M with a 26-7 overall record in singles, including a 5-0 record in SEC matches only, all at the No. 1 line. The team’s lone senior is 10-3 in dual matches and is riding a team-best eight-match win streak. She moved up two spots to a career-high and team-high No. 12 in the latest national singles rankings.
Freshman Saska Gavrilovska enters the match No. 62 in the national singles rankings and riding a four-match win streak. She is 4-1 in SEC singles matches. Sophomore Anna Mamalat is No. 109 in singles, rounding out A&M’s ranked singles players.
While A&M is a combined 19-10 in SEC singles matches, the Aggies are a combined 12-0 in SEC doubles matches. Ines Deheza and Gavrilovska are 5-0 at No. 2, while the 39th-ranked duo of Stefania Hristov and Stancu is 4-0 at No. 1. Rutuja Bhosale and Mamalat are 3-0 at third doubles, and each of the three tandems sport six-match win streaks overall.
Georgia (13-3, 6-1 SEC), tied with A&M for third place in the SEC standings, is looking to get back into the win column after falling 4-2 at No. 11 Vanderbilt, a team A&M defeated 4-2 earlier this month in College Station. The loss ended a nine-match win streak as the Bulldogs fell to 13-3 overall and 6-1 in SEC contests.
Georgia boasts four ranked singles players and four ranked doubles teams. No. 6 Lauren Herring is the highest ranked singles player in the SEC. She is 26-4 overall, including 13-1 in dual matches and 6-0 in SEC matches and is riding an eight-match win streak.
No. 19 Silvia Garcia, No. 21 Maho Kowase and No. 63 Lilly Kimball round out Georgia’s ranked singles individuals.
Herring also sports the highest doubles ranking in the SEC as she and Kowase are No. 2 in the nation with a 26-4 overall record and a 9-1 mark in dual matches only, including a 4-1 record in conference matches. Kate Fuller and Garcia are No. 25, while Kimbell and Mia King are No. 53.
Around DI: Fifth-ranked Stanford plays top-30 opponents on consecutive days, starting with No. 29 Arizona on Friday before hosting No. 19 Arizona State on Satruday. Stanford has swept its past three opponents. ... The top two teams in the SEC meet on Friday when sixth-ranked Alabama faces No. 10 Vanderbilt.
Around DII: Barry, which moved into the ITA's top spot this week, has its final home regular-season match this season on Sunday against No. 8 Rollins. ... Ninth-ranked West Florida faces a pair of top-20 opponents this weekend. On Friday, it plays No. 15 Valdosta State while No. 16 Nova Southeastern awaits in the backed of a doubleheader on Sunday.
Around DIII: Second-ranked Williams faces some of the naiton's best this weekend on its spring break trip. After facing No. 12 Chicago on Thursday, the Ephs see sixth-ranked Pomona-Pitzer and No. 13 Redlands on consecutive days, starting on Saturday. ... Chicago then plays eighth-ranked Middlebury on Friday. ... On Saturday, ninth-ranked Carnegie-M-S gets its shot at No. 13 Redlands.