No. 31 Aggies Hold Off No. 27 Huskies, 4-3
Feb. 19, 2012
SEATTLE - An expected close encounter between the Husky women's tennis team and 31st-ranked Texas A&M developed as planned today at the Nordstrom Tennis Center. But the Aggies (4-1) used the early doubles point to their advantage, pulling out a 4-3 win over Washington (5-2). Sophomore Andjela Nemcevic fought on after the match was clinched, and was rewarded for her determination with a win over 86th-ranked Sun Wen, the first ranked victory of her career.
"A&M played well, they fought hard and we knew they were going to come in fighting. The doubles point proved to be important. I just knew it was going to be a tough fight, and they played well," said Head Coach Jill Hultquist. "The one thing I do want to take away from this is what Andjy did at No. 3. Her heart still stayed in the match and that showed a lot about her character today."
Texas A&M got the early edge with a sweep of the doubles point. Nemcevic and freshman Capucine Gregoire took a 4-3 lead at second doubles, but it proved to be brief, as Nazari Urbina and Janelle Cuthbertson won five straight games to get the 8-4 win. At third doubles, freshmen Riko Shimizu and Natali Coronel fell behind 2-7 before winning three straight games to close the gap, but they couldn't cut it all the way down and A&M's Olivier and Santacroce won, 8-5, to clinch the point. The Aggies then won a tiebreaker at No. 1 doubles as well.
The Huskies came back fighting in singles and were up early in most first sets, but momentum swung back and forth from minute to minute. The first set to finish was Gregoire, the native of Sevres, France, and she went on to post the first singles point for UW with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Lauren Santacroce at fourth singles. Texas A&M then went back up, 2-1, as Cuthbertson defeated Shimizu at No. 5, 6-3, 6-3.
18th-ranked senior Denise Dy never looked like herself all day in doubles or singles, except for a great string of games at the start of her top-20 match-up with 14th-ranked Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar. Limited in practice and showing signs of pain with her wrist, Dy hit a seven game slide after taking a 3-1 lead. Sanchez-Quintanar rallied to take a 6-3, 2-0 lead before Dy got back on the board, but she was unable to hold serve consistently and fell 6-3, 6-2. It is her first loss at home since April 10, 2010 against California.
The clinching point came at second singles, where Nazari Urbina overcame senior Samantha Smith, 6-4, 6-2. Urbina broke to take the first set, then after Smith won two straight games to make it 2-all in the second, Urbina took the final four games.
From there, UW's two Belgrade natives came through on their singles courts. Freshman Julija Lukac stepped in at No. 6 singles for the first time since Feb. 4, and she won a roller coaster match over Janine Erasmus, 7-5, 6-1. Lukac had a 5-0 lead before losing five straight games. She then rallied with two games to close out the set and extended that on to the easy second set win.
That left Nemcevic going against 86th-ranked Sun Wen at No. 3 singles. The match was characterized by long baseline rallies as the two were clearly well matched. Wen broke through to take the first set, 6-4, and held a 3-1 lead in the second set, but Nemcevic dug in and broke back to get even. A long service game for Wen in the eighth game of the set contained multiple break point chances before Nemcevic finally converted for a 5-3 lead, and she then served it out at love. With the match clinched, the two played a 10-point tiebreak to settle things. Wen won four of the first five points, but Nemcevic reeled off four straight with a series of winners. They changed sides even at 6-6, but after one more point for the Aggie, Nemcevic ran off another four points to take the tiebreak, 10-7, and produce the final 4-3 score.
Washington will be challenged again next weekend at home with a Friday-Sunday schedule against San Diego State and St. Mary's. The Aztecs are up first on Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the Nordstrom.
Washington Women's Tennis
No. 31 Texas A&M 4, No. 27 Washington 3