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Three Aggie Women Selected to Compete at NCAA Champinships

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M women’s tennis standouts Rachel Pierson, Saska Gavrilovska and Eva Paalma have been selected to compete in the 2015 NCAA Individual Championships, May 20-25 at Baylor University’s Hurd Tennis Center in Waco, Texas, the NCAA announced today. In addition, Rutuja Bhosale (pronounced roo-too-ja bo-slay), has an outside chance of making the singles tournament as the sixth alternate.

Pierson, a sophomore from Princeton, N.J., was selected to compete in both the 64-player singles championship and the 32-team doubles championship, where she will partner with Paalma, a freshman from Estonia. Pierson, who is in her first season at Texas A&M after transferring from the University of Virginia, is ranked 26th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) national singles rankings and No. 17 in the national doubles rankings with Paalma.

A member of the All-SEC first team, Pierson is tied for the A&M lead for overall singles victories with a 22-12 record, including an 11-7 mark against ranked opponents. She is 11-8 in dual matches only, including 7-5 at the No. 1 singles line.

In doubles, Pierson and Paalma are 10-4 overall. They are 8-4 in dual matches only, including 7-3 in SEC matches — all at the No. 1 line — and they enter postseason play riding a seven-match win streak.

Pierson is making her first appearance in the singles tournament and will be competing in her second consecutive NCAA Doubles Championship, having been a No. 5-8 seed with Cavaliers partner Julia Elbaba as a freshman in 2014. The UVA duo suffered a first-round 6-3, 7-6 (8) loss to Brynn Boren and Zoe Katz of USC in Athens, Ga.

Gavrilovska, a sophomore from Serbia, will be competing in the singles tournament for the second consecutive season and will become only the second A&M player to compete in the prestigious event as both a freshman and sophomore. Former Aggie standout and A&M’s only four-time NCAA singles participant Nazari Urbina is the only other A&M player to have competed in singles in each of her first two years.

Gavrilovska is currently ranked No. 61 in the nation in singles with a 17-11 overall record. A member of the All-SEC second team, the Serbian is 11-6 against ranked opponents. Last year, Gavrilovska fell to No. 9-16 seed and senior All-American Anett Schutting of California, 6-4, 6-1, in the opening round.

Bhosale is ranked 64th and is tied with Pierson for the team lead in singles victories with a 22-12 record. She was named to the All-SEC second team after posting a 10-3 mark in conference matches only.

All matches will be the best of three sets. Regular scoring and a 12-point tiebreaker at six games all will be used for all matches. The draws for both tournaments will be announced May 19.

This is the sixth consecutive year and 14th time overall A&M has been represented in the singles championships. A&M players are a combined 13-17 in singles matches since Kim Labuschagne became the first Aggie to compete in the postseason event in 1987. Labuschagne and Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar are tied for the best finish in school history, reaching the quarterfinals in 1987 and 2012, respectively.

A&M is represented in the doubles tournament for the fourth consecutive year and the 15th time overall. Aggies are a combined 2-15 since Labuschagne and partner Karen Marshall along with the A&M duo of Vanne Akagi and Gaye Lynne Gensler first represented the Maroon and White at the 1986 NCAA Doubles Championship. Only Jessica Roland and Helga Vieira (2004) and Tiffany Clifford and Sarah Foster (2006) have reached the round of 16.

Last year, all three A&M entries were eliminated in the first round, with Gavrilovska and then-senior Cristina Stancu each suffering opening-round losses in singles, and Stancu and partner Stefania Hristov also suffering a first-round loss in doubles.

As a team, Texas A&M (15-5) received a No. 10 seed in the 64-team 2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championship and will host first and second rounds May 9-10 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. The Aggies, who are making their 16th consecutive and 21st overall appearance in the team tournament, open against Alcorn State (11-12) on Saturday, May 9 at 12 p.m.

Visit 12thMan.com for more information on Texas A&M women’s tennis. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M women’s tennis team on Twitter by following @AggieWTEN or on Facebook at Facebook.com/AggieWomensTennis.

The complete list of players selected to compete in the 2015 NCAA Individual Championships is available at ncaa.com

Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics

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Posted by on Apr 30 2015. Filed under Sports.

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