COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Behind a late third-set victory from No. 88 Yuliya Lysa, the No. 26 Arkansas women’s tennis team defeated No. 17 Texas A&M 4-3 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center Sunday.
With the team score tied 3-3, Lysa got the point she needed to earn a thrilling 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Texas A&M’s No. 32 Saska Gavrilovska at the top singles spot and clinch the overall match. The win was the Razorback senior’s third-straight over a top-35 opponent and upped her record to 9-3 in dual matches and 5-2 in Southeastern Conference action.
“What a great, total team effort this was today,” head coach Michael Hegarty said. “We got down a long way in both matches this weekend. But for me, the best thing about both matches was the fighting spirit of these Razorbacks. We have a special group this season and we are getting better at the right time.”
Lysa’s triumph was the climax of a Razorback rally from down 2-1, sparked by a straight-sets win from Sasha Shkorupeieva at the No. 6 position. From there, Arkansas went on to capture two of the remaining three matches to seal the team’s victory.
Arkansas improved to 15-7 overall and 4-3 in league play with the win. Texas A&M fell to 12-7, 4-4. The victory also marked the Razorbacks’ first win against Texas A&M since the Aggies joined the SEC in 2013.
Texas A&M gained the early lead by posting victories at the top two doubles positions. The Aggies’ No. 42 duo of Eva Paalma and Rachel Pierson finished first with a 6-4 victory over Razorbacks Lysa and Shannon Hudson at No. 1. Texas A&M’s No. 44 pair of Rutuja Bhosale and Anna Mamalat followed with a 6-3 win over Arkansas’s Makenzie Craft and Flavia Araujo at No. 2 for the first point of the day. Razorbacks Mia Jurasic and Ana Oparenovic trailed 5-3 at No. 3 at the clinch.
The Razorbacks tied the match 1-1 when Craft picked up a 6-4, 6-1 win over Texas A&M’s Domenica Gonzalez at the No. 4 singles spot.
But the Aggies took the next match finished to go up 2-1. Pierson gave Texas A&M the advantage by defeating No. 83 Oparenovic 6-4, 6-2 at No. 2.
The deficit didn’t stop the Razorbacks. Shkorupeieva came through a tough first set before beating Texas A&M’s Paalma 7-6 (6), 6-2 at No. 6 to move Arkansas level with the Aggies 2-2.
The Aggies took the lead again with a 6-3, 6-4 victory at No. 5 by Ines Deheza over Arkansas’s Jurasic.
Focus then shifted to the final two matches. After dropping the first frame, Hudson pushed her match to a third set and delivered a huge 0-6, 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 3 to set up Lysa’s clinching victory at the top spot.
The Razorbacks return to action Thursday at 4 p.m. when they travel to Athens, Georgia, to face No. 3 Georgia.
1. No. 88 Yuliya Lysa (ARK) def. No. 32 Saska Gavrilovska (A&M), 6-3, 5-7, 6-4
2. Rachel Pierson (A&M) def. No. 83 Ana Oparenovic (ARK), 6-4, 6-2
3. Shannon Hudson (ARK) def. Rutuja Bhosale (A&M), 0-6, 6-4, 6-4
4. Makenzie Craft (ARK) def. Domenica Gonzalez (A&M), 6-4, 6-1
5. Ines Deheza (A&M) def. Mia Jurasic (ARK), 6-3, 6-4
6. Sasha Shkorupeieva (ARK) def. Eva Paalma (A&M), 7-6 (6), 6-2
1. No. 42 Eva Paalma/Rachel Pierson (A&M) def. Shannon Hudson/Yuliya Lysa (ARK) 6-4
2. No. 44 Rutuja Bhosale/Anna Mamalat (A&M) def. Flavia Araujo/Makenzie Craft (ARK) 6-3
3. Ines Deheza/Domenica Gonzalez (A&M) vs. Mia Jurasic/Ana Oparenovic (ARK) 5-3, unfinished
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (4,2,6,5,3,1)