Weekend previews

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Women’s swimming and diving preview

This weekend, the women’s swimming and diving team will fly to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to swim at the Canham Natatorium in its first intercollegiate competition of the season.

The No. 6 Longhorns have their work cut out for them in this two-day quad meet. Although the 2014-2015 rankings have yet to be posted, three fellow top-20 2014 NCAA Championship teams will be competing: No. 11 Indiana, No. 20 Michigan and No. 13 Louisville.

Though Louisville is new to the mix this year, this trip will be familiar for the Longhorns. Last year, the women crushed their competition with eight victories, beating Indiana by a 155-141 count and Michigan by a margin of 210-90.

Head coach Carol Capitani desires more success this season, and hopes Texas can be a top competitor alongside Cal, Georgia and Stanford.

“Coming in ninth every year, it’s getting a little old,” said Capitani. “In swimming life, if you’re staying the same, you’re getting worse.”

The team will be led by seniors such as Gretchen Jaques, who won the 50 and 100 freestyle last year at this meet, and diver Emma Ivory-Ganja, who placed first in the three-meter event. 

Women's golf to Travel to San Antonio for Alamo Invitational

Following an eighth place finish at their home course in the Betsy Rawls Invitational, the women’s golf team will travel to San Antonio for the Alamo Invitational being held Sunday through Tuesday. 

The invitational will be hosted by UTSA at the Briggs Ranch Golf Club (par 72, 6,428 yards).

Texas will tee off for its first round at 11:40 a.m. Sunday, matched with Florida State and Tulane.

The invitational will host 15 teams, two of which are ranked in Golfweek’s Top 20: No. 7 Arkansas and No. 19 Auburn. The Longhorns have fallen four places to 44th since their last performance at the Betsy Rawls Invitational.

Other Texas teams will be in attendance, including SMU, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Houston.

Softball looks to win third fall scrimmage

The softball team will host Galveston College at 7 p.m. Friday in the third fall scrimmage at Red and Charline McCombs Field. 

The Longhorns have played well through the first two games, with a 5-0 win against McLennan Community College and an 11-0 victory over the University of Incarnate Word.

Through two games, sophomore infielder Kelli Hanzel is 4-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs. Junior infielder Erin Shireman is also hot at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs.

If Texas continues to play the way its are playing, expect to see dominating performances from the pitching staff. In the first two scrimmages, the pitching staff has not allowed a run and has combined for a whopping 24 strikeouts.

Soccer to take on Baylor, OU in tough rivalry road trip

Texas soccer has another tough pair of conference games this weekend. The Longhorns will take on Oklahoma (8-5-3, 2-2-1 Big 12) in Norman, Oklahoma, Friday at 7 p.m., and then turn around and head to Waco for a 6 p.m. Sunday tilt against a physical Baylor squad (8-5-2, 2-2-1 Big 12).

Oklahoma was ranked as high as 15th in early September, but the Sooners have dropped off since then and are winless in their last three contests.

This season, Baylor’s offense has excelled where the Longhorns have struggled. The Bears have made the most of their opportunities, seeing just over half of their shots this season come on goal, while Texas has hit just 41.9 percent of its shots on target.

Junior goalkeeper Abby Smith will have her hands full against the pair of Big 12 offenses, but she should be fresher since head coach Angela Kelly gave her the night off against Arkansas-Little Rock.

Oklahoma and Baylor are hardly the elite of the Big 12, but the Longhorns have not made much of an impact since knocking off a then No. 6 Texas Tech team back in September. A 2-3-0 conference record puts Texas in a tie with TCU for the last spot in the Big 12 tournament, but wins this weekend could bring the Longhorns some much needed insurance in the closing weeks of the season.

Rowing team to kick off season

The rowing team will race in its first regatta of the fall season on Saturday at the Head of the Colorado, a 5,000-meter course on Lady Bird Lake. 

The regatta, which is hosted by the Austin Rowing Club, will be new head coach Dave O’Neill’s first opportunity to see his team in competition.

“I really won’t worry about the results from an outside perspective,” O’Neill said. “It’s going to be about, ‘Are we getting stronger physically? Are we rowing better? Is the team culture improving?’”

In past races at the Head of the Colorado, Texas has competed against schools such as Texas A&M, Baylor and Louisiana State University, all of which are club rowing teams. The Longhorns will face their true Division I competition later in the spring, using this weekend’s race to get all NCAA-eligible rowers, including walk-ons, practice in competition. 

“I’ll take a look at how hard they raced and how well they raced against each other,” O’Neill said. 

Men's swimming and diving faces first true test of season

In the men’s swimming and diving season opener last week, No. 6 Texas handily defeated the Aggies, winning all 15 individual and relay events. With a sweep over a rival fresh on their minds, the Longhorns will travel to Michigan for a quad meet with Michigan, Indiana and Louisville from Friday until Saturday.

At the NCAA Championships in March, all four programs finished in the top 11. Texas took second, Michigan took fourth, Indiana took 10th and Louisville took 11th.

It will be a showdown between some of the best teams in the country. At their last meeting, Texas dominated Indiana with a 204-96 win, but fell to Michigan, by a smaller margin. The Longhorns and the Cardinals have never competed against one another in a dual meet.

Texas has eight swimmers ranked in the top 20 nationally for their perspective events.