Women's Tennis finishes at No. 10 in final ITA team poll
June 4, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas – A season chocked full of team and individual accomplishments added yet another breakthrough when Texas finished at No. 10 in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) team poll.
Texas finished as the highest-ranked team in the Big 12 Conference and the state of Texas after compiling a 19-8 overall record that featured victories over seven opponents that ranked inside the top-17 of the final ITA team rankings. The Longhorns boasted 10 wins over ITA top-25 opponents this season.
Texas wrapped up the 2012 campaign by making its third appearance in the NCAA Championship round of 16 in the last five seasons. UT defeated Wichita State in the opening round of the NCAA Championship before knocking off 17th-ranked Nebraska in the round of 32 to punch its ticket to the round of 16. Texas fell to sixth-seeded host Georgia in the NCAA round of 16.
Texas entered the NCAA Championship with a burst of momentum after winning three consecutive matches at the Big 12 Championship to claim its first conference tournament title since 2005. UT opened the tournament at Texas A&M’s Mitchell Tennis Center with a 4-1 win over Oklahoma State before toppling top-seeded Texas Tech by a 4-2 count in the semifinals. Notably, Texas was the only school to defeat Texas Tech in conference play, and the Horns did so twice.
Texas marched to the Big 12 Conference tournament title by tallying a 4-2 win over host Texas A&M in the finals. Sophomore Elizabeth Begley was selected as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Performer after winning three matches in the tournament without dropping a set.
Junior Aeriel Ellis won a pair of matches in the NCAA Championship singles draw and became the first Longhorn to earn back-to-back ITA singles All-America honors since 1999, when Sandy Sureephong completed the feat. Ellis joined an elite group of just 10 Longhorns who have earned multiple singles All-America honors. Ellis also became the first Longhorn to receive the ITA/Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship. The Californian earned All-Big 12 singles honors alongside senior Krista Damico, while freshmen Lina Padegimaite and Noel Scott earned All-Big 12 doubles honors.
Padegimaite was selected as the Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year after going unbeaten in conference play. The native of Lithuania was one of three Longhorns to claim a Big 12 individual singles title at her position. Sophomore Cierra Gaytan-Leach claimed the Big 12 crown at No. 4 singles, while Padegimaite took the league title at No. 5 singles. Begley, who joined Padegimaite to go undefeated in conference play, was the conference champion at No. 6 singles.
2012 TEXAS TENNIS HIGHLIGHTS