NCAA Womens Tennis

Lady Vols’ Rally Falls Short at Texas A&M in NCAA Super Regionals

Lady Vols’ Rally Falls Short at Texas A&M in NCAA Super Regionals

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 14th-ranked Tennessee women’s tennis team battled hard, but its late comeback fell just short as it fell to No. 2 Texas A&M, 4-1, Friday afternoon at Mitchell Tennis Center.

After trailing 3-0, the Lady Vols never gave in, battling back from first set deficits on Courts 2, 3 and 6 to even up the individual matches and force a third set, but the Aggies closed out the clinch with a winner on Court 5, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4.

“When you put everything you have into something meaningful, it really hurts when you lose,” head coach Alison Ojeda said. “That is where we are at right now. This is tough. We gave ourselves opportunities to beat the No. 2 team in the country and advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. With that said, we can feel really good when we put our head on the pillow to sleep tonight because we know in our hearts that we gave it everything we had, and that is important.”

“Both of these feelings are what will allow us to be proud of the success we’ve had a s a program this season and also be motivated to achieve more in the future,” Ojeda continued. “It’s not just the wins we are seeking out, we want to perform at a high level when things matter most. We want to put our best against our opponent’s best. That is who we are and what we want to strive for.”

Lauren Anzalotta was especially impressive. She fell behind early on Court 6, dropping the first set to Jeanette Mireles, but the junior hunkered down and took the second frame, 6-4, before blanking the A&M sophomore, 6-0 in the final frame.

Part of the rally was fueled by massive comebacks from Rebeka Mertena and Daria Kuczer on Courts 2 and 3. The fifth-year seniors, playing in their final team matches of the year, battled from set deficits to take leads in the third set. Neither one could finish though, as the Aggies clinched before they could finish off the victory. Mertena led 5-3 and Kuczer was up 6-5 at the time of the clinch.

“The feeling right now is bittersweet,” Kuczer said after the match. “Another chapter in my life came to a close which is my collegiate career with this team, though we have individuals ahead of us. This year was one of the most amazing years I have had and I could not envision a better finish to my career at Tennessee. Collectively, we have done something special for the program, and my hope is that the teams after this will keep breaking records. I could not be more proud of each and every individual on this team…

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