Aggie tennis to face nine seed in SEC tourney

Aggie tennis to face nine seed in SEC tourney
Posted at 9:38 PM, Apr 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-18 22:38:41-04

Texas A&M is the No. 9 seed at the 2018 SEC Women’s Tennis Tournament and will face 24th-ranked and No. 8 seed Kentucky in the second round, Thursday at 3 p.m. (ET) at the University of Tennessee’s Barksdale Stadium.

Texas A&M (15-9, 5-8 SEC) tied LSU for ninth place in the SEC standings and was awarded the tournament’s No. 9 seed based on head-to-head competition during the regular season in which the Aggies defeated the Tigers, 4-1, on March 23 in College Station. No. 36 in the ITA rankings released on Tuesday, A&M closed out the regular season with a 4-3 loss at Alabama on Sunday. It was the Aggies’ fifth consecutive loss heading into the tournament, with four of the losses coming against ranked opponents.

“There is definitely some excitement in the air as we approach the SEC Championships,” Texas A&M head coach Mark Weaver said. “We are looking forward to playing Kentucky again tomorrow. We definitely had our chances a few weeks back at their place, and now we get another opportunity against them here at the SEC Tournament.”

Individually, A&M has one player listed in the ITA singles rankings and one pair ranked in doubles. Macarena Olivares is No. 76 in singles with a team-leading 27-10 overall mark, including a team-best 17-5 record in dual matches, all at the No. 2 line. Olivares, who went 7-4 in SEC contests, has won her last two matches, including a 6-4, 6-4 victory over 47th-ranked Jaeda Daniel of Auburn, marking the highest ranked win of Olivares’ A&M career.

In doubles, Domenica Gonzalez and Eva Paalma are No. 59. The duo is 20-9 overall, including 11-6 in dual matches all at the No. 1 line, as well as 7-4 in SEC matches only.

Kentucky finished the regular season tied with Mississippi State for seventh in the league standings after dropping 4-0 road matches to both No. 10 Florida and No. 7 South Carolina to close out the regular season.

The winner of the second-round match advances to take on No. 1 seed and SEC regular season champion Vanderbilt in the quarterfinals on Friday at 3 p.m. The Commodores, ranked No. 2 in the nation, finished 12-1 in conference matches after posting a come-from-behind 4-3 victory at No. 10 Florida to close out the regular season.

Kentucky owns a 12-5 lead in the all-time series against the Aggies, including a 4-1 victory against the Aggies on April 7 at the Wildcat’s Boone Tennis Complex four-court indoor facility in Lexington. A&M is 4-2 against the Wildcats since joining the SEC in 2013. A&M’s most recent win against Kentucky was a 4-2 upset victory over the then-11th-ranked Wildcats last year in the Aggies’ final SEC home match of the season. This will be the first time A&M and Kentucky have met at an SEC Tournament.

Texas A&M is 4-5 all-time in the SEC Tournament since joining the league in 2012-13. Last year the ninth-seeded Aggies fell to No. 8 seed LSU, 4-3, in the second round in Nashville.