The Texas A&M women’s tennis team aims to break its record for the best start in program history on Wednesday as the Aggies travel to Rice for their first road match of the season. First serve against the Owls is at 2 p.m. at the George R. Brown Tennis Center in Houston.
Most recently, A&M shut out Louisiana, 6-0, on Saturday at the Bryan Tennis Center indoor courts to improve to 7-0 and equal the best start in school history, originally set in 1998 when the Aggies went 7-0 before suffering a 5-4 loss at Baylor.
“We are looking forward to our strongest challenge so far this season as we play Rice on Wednesday," said Mark Weaver, who is in his third season as head coach of the Aggies. “They have a very solid team from top to bottom, and I expect it to be a highly competitive match. Our team is working hard and striving to improve each and every day. We have been building some momentum each and every match this season, and hopefully that will continue on in our match tomorrow.”
The Aggies have given up only three total points in the seven matches and are a combined 38-3 in singles in dual matches only. In addition, A&M is a combined 7-0 in doubles—doubles was not contested in four of the seven matches.
Individually, senior Macarena Olivares is 7-0 at the No. 2 singles line and is riding a team-best 10-match winning streak dating back to tournament play. Seniors Domenica Gonzalez, ranked 85th in the nation in singles, and Eva Paalma also are 7-0 in singles at Nos. 1 and 3, respectively, and each boast nine-match winning streaks. In addition, freshman Riley McQuaid remains undefeated in singles play with a 7-0 record, having seen action at both the No. 4 and No. 5 lines.
Rice dropped to 3-2 after falling at TCU, 4-2, on Sunday in Fort Worth. The Owls’ 17th-ranked duo of Lindsey Hodge and Wendy Zhang improved to 4-0 in dual matches and 11-2 overall by defeating TCU’s 43rd-ranked Donika Bashota and Elizabeth Tedford, but the Horned Frogs went on to capture the doubles point. Rice took the lead by scoring the first two points in singles, but TCU came back and got wins at the Nos. 1, 2 and 4 lines to win the match.
The Owls’ Anna Bowtell, whose match went unfinished at the No. 6 line, is riding a team-leading seven-match winning streak and is 2-0 in dual matches only. Savannah Durkin leads the team in wins in dual matches with a 4-1 record, including a 3-0 ledger at the No. 5 line.
A&M holds a commanding 26-9 lead in the all-time series against former Southwest Conference-foe Rice. The Owls, however, ended a nine-match losing skid against the Aggies last year, topping A&M, 4-1, at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center on Feb. 5, 2017, handing the Aggies their first home loss of the season.
A&M stays on the road for the next two matches, taking on SMU in Dallas on Saturday at 12 p.m. and TCU in Fort Worth at 1 p.m. on Sunday before closing out the preconference schedule against Central Florida on Sunday Feb. 25 at the Mitchell Tennis Center.