Mary Stoiana made history as she defeated Miami’s Alexa Noel (UTR 11.33), 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-1 in the final to win the first ITA Women’s All-American Championship for the Texas A&M Aggies.
With a UTR Rating of 11.56, Stoiana has the second-highest UTR Rating among female collegiate players. The 2023 SEC Player of the Year picked up a ranked win in each of her five matches en route to the title, picking up four Top-40 wins and three Top-25 wins to secure the championship.
“Great week for Mary, she was really clutch in the big moments all week, and that’s what it takes to win an event like this,” said Texas A&M associate head coach Jordan Szabo. “We are trying to win a team national championship and Mary winning this individual national championship should give us confidence for our major goal.”
Stoiana has dabbled in professional tennis, winning two UTR Pro Tennis Tour events held at her college campus last year. The 20-year-old also boasts a WTA ranking of No. 577.
In addition to Stoiana’s superb run to the title, another SEC program made a statement by sending two players to the semifinals. The South Carolina Gamecocks were the only team to have two players in the quarterfinals, let alone even the semifinals with Ayana Akli (UTR 11.04) and Sarah Hamner (UTR 10.49) each winning three matches in the main draw.
Hamner also earned three straight-set wins in qualifying to give her a total of six singles wins on the week before she fell in a hard-fought match to eventual champ Stoiana. Akli meanwhile dropped just 15 games in her three wins, all against top-35 opponents. The fifth-year senior then succumbed to Noel in three sets.
“I think it was a solid week for the Gamecocks,” South Carolina assistant coach Axel Damiens said. “I know that our players wanted to go all the way but I am happy to see their hard work is being rewarded. They’ve proven that they are two of the top college tennis players in the country and it gives our program a lot of great momentum going into the season.”
In doubles, the University of Oklahoma duo of Dana Guzman and Alina Shcherbinana stormed through both the qualifying and main draws to come away with eight victories, four of which were against ranked opponents. Making the achievement even more special was how the Peruvian-Russian duo were only playing together for the second time, as Shcherbinana just arrived this semester as a transfer from Baylor.
Head coach Audra Cohen was very pleased with her student-athletes delivering the program’s first All-American doubles title.
History was made Sunday afternoon as @danaguzman03 and Alina Shcherbinina took home the first doubles title in program history at the ITA All-American Championship 🏆— Oklahoma Tennis (@OU_WTennis) October 8, 2023
🔗| https://t.co/iDEqvxtkpR pic.twitter.com/EddvL0UO7f
“Their commitment to learning and growing is why they won a National championship,” Cohen said. “They have a genuine respect for each other’s games, and this allowed them to bring the best out of each other. They improved with each round and enjoyed the different challenges each team presented. Their willingness to learn while in the middle of the battle was extraordinary and the results followed.”
Cohen is one of 13 coaches on the Universal Tennis Collegiate Alliance executive committee, where she helps guide and drive innovation and growth in college tennis.
Attention will now shift to ITA Regional Championships played all across the nation with at-large spots at stake for the ITA National Fall Championships next month.