Women's Tennis preview: No. 8 Northwestern
March 1, 2012
WHAT: No. 9 Texas (4-3) resumes dual-match play this week when it hosts No. 8 Northwestern in the Horns’ home opener
WHEN/WHERE: Friday, March 2 – 6 p.m. Central – Penick-Allison Tennis Center – Austin, Texas
LIVE SCORING: Available at TexasSports.com
LAST TIME OUT: Texas chalked up a 4-3 win over Clemson (Feb. 12) in the final round of consolation play at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship.
LONGHORNS CRACK THE ITA TOP-10
Under seventh-year head coach Patty Fendick-McCain, the Longhorns hold a 4-3 mark in dual-match play with neutral-site victories over North Carolina, Alabama, Vanderbilt and Clemson, each of whom have been ranked in the ITA top-20 this season. Notably, Texas opened the season last month with a 4-3 win over the then-No. 3 Tar Heels in New York City.
Additionally, Texas' only three defeats have come against ITA top-10 foes - No. 4 Georgia, No. 6 Virginia and No. 10 Miami - all at neutral sites. Junior All-American Aeriel Ellis ranks 30th in the ITA singles rankings, while freshman Noel Scott comes in at No. 87.
The Horns are led by junior Aeriel Ellis, who last season became UT's first ITA All-American since 1999. The Californian has qualified to compete in all eight of the previous national championship events contested during her two-plus seasons as a Longhorn. She reached the round of 16 of the singles draw at the 2011 NCAA Championships.
Senior Krista Damico totaled a 21-16 overall singles record last season while playing primarily at No. 2 singles. The Colorado native is off to a solid start in dual-match play with victories over Alabama's 104th-ranked Courtney McLane and Vanderbilt's 110th-ranked Marie Casares.
UT returns a talented sophomore class who saw significant time in the dual-match lineup last season. Juliana Gajic totaled a 13-6 dual-match record, primarily at No. 5 singles, and Cierra Gaytan-Leach totaled a 9-3 dual-match record. Elizabeth Begley has won eight of her last nine decisions, including a win over Virginia's 89th-ranked Caryssa Peretz in January. Begley added two wins last month at the ITA National Team Indoors.
Freshman Noel Scott defeated two ITA-ranked opponents in the Horns' two victories at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend event. Scott defeated Vanderbilt's 69th-ranked Lauren Mira by a 6-0, 6-2 count one day after toppling Alabama's 43rd-ranked Alexa Guarachi, 6-2, 6-4.