Women's Tennis preview: Iowa State, Missouri
March 15, 2012
WHAT: No. 8 Texas (7-4) opens conference play this weekend when it visits Iowa State (3-10, 0-0 Big 12) and No. 56 Missouri (5-4, 0-0 Big 12).
LAST TIME OUT: Texas suffered a tight 4-3 defeat to No. 4 USC on March 14 in Austin.
LONGHORNS CRACK THE ITA TOP-10
WINNING THE HARD WAY
Texas opened the season with a 4-3 win over No. 4 North Carolina on a neutral site at the USTA’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the site of the annual U.S. Open. The Longhorns ventured away from home again the following weekend when they participated in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend event. Texas edged No. 23 Alabama by a 4-3 count before toppling 17th-ranked Vanderbilt, the event host, by a 4-1 count.
Two weeks later, Texas added a 4-3 win over No. 15 Clemson at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Charlottesville, Va. On March 2, in just their first home match of the season, the ninth-ranked Longhorns overpowered No. 8 Northwestern from the start and emerged with a 6-1 victory over the Wildcats.
Additionally, Texas' only four defeats have come against ITA top-10 foes - No. 4 Georgia, No. 6 Virginia and No. 10 Miami and No. 4 USC.
MORE OF THE SAME FROM ELLIS
Ellis went on to outlast Northwestern’s 20th-ranked Kate Turvy by a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 count two weeks ago in the Horns’ 6-1 win over the eighth-ranked Wildcats.
EIGHT STRAIGHT FOR DAMICO
Freshman Noel Scott boasts 13 overall singles victories in her freshman season, and her two dual-match victories helped the Horns qualify for the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. In January, Scott posted a 6-2, 6-4 win over Alabama’s 40th-ranked Alexa Guarachi before defeating Vanderbilt’s 113th-ranked Lauren Mira, 6-0, 6-2.
Padegimaite holds a 6-4 dual-match record, which features a win over Georgia’s 80th-ranked Kate Fuller at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. Gaytan-Leach owns four dual-match victories. She defeated North Carolina’s 76th-ranked Caroline Price at fourth singles in UT’s 4-3 win over the fourth-ranked Tar Heels. Gaytan-Leach also features wins over Clemson’s Romy Koelzer and Northwestern’s Linda Abu Mushrefova. Begley is off to a quick start with an 8-2 dual-match record and a 21-7 overall singles record.
THE 2011-12 LONGHORNS: Texas returns four regular singles starters from the 2010-11 squad that reached the finals of the Big 12 Championship and the round of 32 at the NCAA Championships.
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.