With a nearly packed house, Texas took on Baylor in an intense match that was decided by only a couple of points. Unable to take advantage of the few chances available to take control of the match, Texas fell to the Bears 4-3.
“We had our opportunities and just didn’t capitalize on them,” said Texas head coach Michael Center. “That has been our story lately.”
The turning point of the match came at the expense of senior Kellen Damico on court one. With the match tied at two points apiece, Damico was in a position to give the Longhorns the lead for the first time in the match. After taking the first set, 6-3, Damico took a 4-2 lead in the second set, and seemed to be in complete control of the match. At that point, Baylor’s John Peers took a break to see the trainer. The downtime extinguished Damico’s momentum and allowed Peers to take the next four matches to push the match to a third set. After losing several points on close calls, Damico went flat in the final set, losing it 6-0.
For just the third time all season, Texas was not able to claim the doubles point and trailed entering singles play. Baylor was quickly able to push its lead to 2-0 when sophomore Vasko Mladenov dropped his match 6-1, 6-1. Fellow sophomore Ben Chen took his point in impressive fashion, 6-1, 6-2, to put Texas on the board. Junior Jean Andersen fell behind 3-1 in the third set before staging his comeback to even up the match at 2-2.
“We had some great performances tonight. Ben Chen was outstanding, I thought Daniel Whitehead and Chris Camillone were terrific at No. 3 doubles,” Center said. Whitehead and Camillone were the only Texas duo to win a doubles match. “We were right there, but until we start sustaining it all the way through the match, we’re going to come up a little short.”
Moments after Damico fell, Baylor was able to seal up the match at court two, where senior Ed Corrie was never able to get into a groove and fell in straight sets 6-4, 6-2. After Corrie’s loss, the nearly full stands quickly emptied. The few that remained stayed to cheer Whitehead on as he finished his match in straight sets. The loss knocks Texas down to 1-2 in conference and keeps Baylor undefeated in the Big 12.
“That was a disappointing loss because it knocked us out of the conference chase,” Center said. “We’re just fighting for position the rest of the conference season.”
This match will be a tough pill to swallow for Texas, considering it was right on the cusp of taking control of the match. Texas will have to try to salvage its conference standing on Sunday as it hosts Texas Tech.