AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas' 10th-ranked women's tennis team defeated 15th-ranked Baylor, 4-3, in the final match of the Big 12 Championships at Penick-Allison Tennis Center on Sunday afternoon. The Longhorns won the doubles point and battled the Lady Bears in singles before junior Katie Ruckert (Vienna, Va.) pulled off an impressive three-set victory to clinch Texas' seventh Big 12 Tournament title.
Texas improved to 20-5 while Baylor dropped to 22-5.
The title match opened with doubles play and the Longhorns came out strong looking to avenge a 5-2 loss to the Lady Bears earlier in the regular season. Baylor took the first match at No. 1, but junior Kelly Baritot (Allison Park, Pa.) and freshman Courtney Zauft (San Antonio, Texas) responded with a win at No. 3. The duo found itself down 4-3 before putting together a five-game run that closed out the match over Caroline Korsawe and Carolin Walter, 8-4. Sophomore Petra Dizdar (Split, Croatia) and junior Mia Marovic (Split, Croatia) then posted an identical 8-4 score over Klara Zrustova and Zuzana Zemenova at No. 2 to clinch the doubles point for Texas.
In singles, Marovic increased the Longhorns' lead to 2-0 after she handled Zuzana Cerna at the second spot, 6-3, 6-0.
Baylor tied the score at 2-2 with a pair of victories at the top and bottom of the singles lineup. Sophomore Ristine Olson (Missoula, Mont.) was defeated by Zuzana Krchnakova 6-1, 6-2 at No. 6 and Dizdar fell to Zemenova 6-2, 6-4 at No. 1.
Zauft helped Texas regain the advantage with her 7-5, 6-3 win over Zrustova at the fifth spot, but Baylor again had an answer as Walter defeated Strohm 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 at the third.
Ruckert proved to be the deciding match at No. 4 where the junior dropped the first set to Covello, but mounted an impressive comeback allowing only five games in the final two sets for the 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 victory.
"It's been typical of this team all year to continue to battle," Texas head coach Jeff Moore said. "The team has a very special quality and it has to do with their dynamics - they fight and pull for each other. Both teams really battled and the match was in the balance for what seemed like forever. I think Courtney's (Zauft) win turned the momentum in our favor and that gave Katie (Ruckert) confidence."
Additionally, Marovic was named the tournament's most outstanding performer after she compiled a 2-0 record in singles and a 3-0 record in doubles for the tournament.
The Texas women now await their position in the field of 64 in the NCAA Championships. The tournament bracket and host sites will be announced on Wednesday, May 4.
No. 2 seed Texas 4, No. 1 seed Baylor 3
Singles (Order of finish: 2, 6, 1, 5, 3, 4)
1. Zuzana Zemenova (BU) def. Petra Dizdar (UT) 6-2, 6-4
2. Mia Marovic (UT) def. Zuzana Cerna (BU) 6-3, 6-0
3. Carolin Walter (BU) def. Kendra Strohm (UT) 6-2, 3-6, 6-1
4. Katie Ruckert (UT) def. Daniela Covello (BU) 5-7, 6-4, 6-1
5. Courtney Zauft (UT) def. Klara Zrustova (BU) 7-5, 6-3
6. Zuzana Krchnakova (BU) def. Ristine Olson (UT) 6-1, 6-2
Doubles (Order of finish: 1, 3, 2)
1. Cerna/Covello (BU) def. Ruckert/Strohm (UT) 8-2
2. Dizdar/Marovic (UT) def. Zrustova/Zemenova (BU) 8-4
3. Kelly Baritot/Zauft (UT) def. Caroline Korsawe/Walter (BU) 8-4