National Championship moments: 1993 Women's Tennis
With four All-Americans on head coach Jeff Moore's roster, the 1993 Longhorns won their first ever NCAA Championship in women's tennis. After tallying an 18-4 record in the regular season, Texas left no doubt it was the best team in the nation, rolling through the talent-rich Southwest Conference (SWC) Championship nearly unscathed and besting the three highest ranked teams in the nation at the NCAA Tournament.
As the top seed in the SWC Tournament in Fort Worth, UT lost just one individual match during its dominant run. The Longhorns opened the tournament with a 6-0 win over Houston, dropped Baylor, 6-0 in the semifinals and secured the title with a 5-1 win over Texas A&M in the championship match.
With an SWC title in hand, the Longhorns marched into the NCAA Tournament as the No. 5 seed. After dispatching Southern California in the opening round, Texas ran the gauntlet of the top three national powers. In its quarterfinal match, UT defeated No. 3 Duke, 5-3. The next day, the Longhorns downed defending national champion, No. 2 Florida, 5-4. Texas wrapped up the improbable run by posting a 5-2 win over top-seeded Stanford to become the lowest-seeded team to win the tournament at that time.
The Longhorns ended the season with a 25-4 mark and swept SWC regular-season action with a 7-0 mark. Texas began the year with six consecutive victories before falling to then No. 1-ranked Florida, 5-4, in UT's home opener. After the loss to the Gators, UT won 12 of its next 15 matches to close out the regular season. Many believe the turning point of the season came on a trek to Arizona at the beginning of April. Following a 5-4 loss to No. 10 ranked Arizona, the Longhorns bounced back the next day to throttle No. 7 Arizona State, 5-1. Texas' only loss after that point was a 5-3 loss to No. 3 Duke. Individually, the Texas players posted outstanding performances for the season. The Longhorns finished with four All-American singles players and an All-American doubles team. Susan Gilchrist led the Longhorns with a 31-9 singles record, including a 19-6 mark at No. 1, as she earned her fourth All-America recognition. Kelly Pace and Jackie Moe also reached the 30-win plateau for the season to garner All-America status. Pace went 37-10 with a 20-4 mark at No. 2 and Moe was 34-10 and 18-4 at No. 4. Vickie Paynter was the fourth All-American, going 29-5 overall and 22-2 at No. 3. Gilchrist (6th), Pace (8th), Paynter (18th) and Moe (34th) all finished the season ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Top 50 in singles.
The Longhorns also boasted two of the top doubles tandems in the nation. Gilchrist and Paynter earned All-America honors and finished as the ITA top-ranked squad in the country, posting a 28-3 overall record and a 19-1 ledger at No. 1. Moe and Pace notched a 22-5 record, including 10-3 at No. 2, to finish the year ranked 14th by the ITA.
Although she didn't earn All-America honors, one of the keys to the national championship run was Jill Craybas. She was originally projected to fill the No. 3 singles spot, but suffered a stress fracture in one of her legs in January. She missed the beginning of the spring season and did not return until mid-April. Without Craybas in the lineup, UT was 3-4 against teams ranked in the top 10 in the nation. With Craybas inserted in the lineup, Texas went undefeated, including the three consecutive wins over the top three teams as she posted a 6-0 record down the stretch.
Gilchrist, Moe, Pace and Paynter all went on to enjoy professional playing careers. Gilchrist won one singles and six doubles titles on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) circuit and was ranked as high as 120th in the world in doubles in 1994. Moe won two ITF singles titles. In 1996, Pace was ranked in the top 200 in the world in singles action and ended her career with three ITF circuit doubles titles. Paynter ended her pro playing career with one singles and nine doubles crowns and was ranked as high as 112th in the world.