Michael Center

Although she posted a strong first season in the fall, freshman libero Cat McCoy might not see action this spring after re-aggravating a foot injury during the USA Volleyball tryouts.
Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Men's golf

The No. 2 men’s golf team returned to action this weekend, finishing in fourth place at the 3M Augusta Invitational. 

Freshman Scottie Scheffler, who led the team for the first time this season, birdied five times on the final round to record a personal best 12-under par (67–70–67) and land in second place on the individual leaderboard.

As a team, the Longhorns finished six strokes short of first-place finisher New Mexico, which finished 26-under par.

Sophomore Beau Hossler and freshman Doug Ghim tied for 20th place, each with a 3-under-par 213 over the three rounds. Senior Kramer Hickok came in 42nd with a 218, and sophomore Gavin Hall rounded out the Longhorns with a 222 for 54th place.

The team continues its season next weekend in Santa Cruz, California at the Western Intercollegiate.

Men's tennis

After 15 years at the head of the Longhorns’ program, head coach Michael Center secured his 300th win when No. 9 Texas defeated No. 21 Texas Tech by a score of 4–1 Saturday. 

The Longhorns got off to a rocky start as they lost the doubles point for the 10th time this season. But the Texas deficit didn’t last long as the Longhorns rallied with four consecutive victories at the singles positions, highlighted by a hard-fought 7–6, 0–6, 6–1 victory by senior Clement Homs, which improves his season record to 5–0.

Following the victory over Texas Tech, Center’s new record at Texas stands at 300–105. In addition to his .741 winning percentage, Center has coached 16 ITA All-Americans and has won Big 12 Coach of the Year four times throughout his career with the Longhorns. 

“I’m proud of the student-athletes I’ve had, not only this year, but in the past, that have made contributions to our program while they were here and after their graduation,” Center said. “It has been very gratifying, and I’m looking forward to many more with this group.”

Texas will continue its four-match home stand Tuesday against unranked UTSA at the Caswell Tennis Center in Austin.

Track and field

Texas track and field didn’t send many runners to California for the Stanford Invitational, but the ones who went were successful on the long trip.

Friday represented the only running action for the Longhorns. Senior Craig Lutz and sophomore Sandie Raines led the group of distance runners from Texas in the team’s first performance since the 88th Nike Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.

Raines ran the 5,000 meters in a time of 15:48.04, just 36 seconds off the school’s top mark Marielle Hall set last year. Lutz posted the school’s second best time in history in the 10,000 meters with a time of 28:33.48. His time is just 14 seconds off the University’s top mark.

The Longhorns have a chance for some home cooking at the Texas Invitational this weekend in Austin. The meet begins Saturday morning with the women’s hammer throw at 10 a.m. and will conclude with the highly anticipated men’s 4x400-meter relay Saturday evening.

Volleyball

It might only be the spring season, but Amy Neal was in midseason form Friday night.

The junior outside hitter posted 22 kills, 15 digs and three aces in a 4–1 Texas win over SMU, the team’s first victory of the spring.

Texas dropped the opening set of the match despite outhitting SMU .267 to .191. But the Longhorns dominated from that point on. They held the Mustangs to a negative hitting percentage in the second set and took the remaining three sets with an average hitting percentage of .317.

Sophomore middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu, who was named to the NCAA Division I All-Tournament team in the fall, recorded a team-high .522 hitting percentage along with 14 kills and nine blocks. Sophomore outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame finished the night with 12 kills and 16 digs. 

Junior outside hitter Cailin Bula led the Mustangs with 11 kills and nine digs and junior setter Avery Acker posted 23 digs.

The Longhorns will be back in action this weekend at the F.A.S.T. Complex Collegiate Invite in Houston. Texas returns to Gregory Gym for its last match of the spring season on April 24. The team will play against UTSA. 

Women's tennis

In the first-ever matchup between the two teams, the Ohio State Buckeyes toppled the Longhorns, 4–1.

The Buckeyes started off strong, swiftly taking the doubles point.

The Texas sophomore tandem, Pippa Horn and Neda Koprcina, fell to its competition on court three and Ohio State clinched the doubles point on court one. Ohio State’s No. 44-ranked pair of sophomores, Gabrielle De Santis and Sandy Niehaus, defeated the Texas duo of junior Breaunna Addison and senior Lina Padegimaite in a 6–2 decision.

Freshmen Ryann Foster and Dani Wagland held their own on the second court before play was suspended.

In singles competition, No. 47 Addison, the Professional Tennis Registry Female Player of the Year, posted a victory over her Ohio State competitor, De Santis. Addison added a fifth-straight singles win with this triumph, ending De Santis’ win streak at Ohio State’s No. 1 singles position.

On the other courts, Texas struggled to win a set against Ohio State. Koprcina dropped a 6–1, 6–1 decision to Niehaus on court three, allowing Niehaus to seal her eighth-straight singles victory.  

Foster and Wagland fell to their competition, freshman Anna Sanford and sophomore Miho Kowase, on the second and fifth courts. Padegimaite’s and Horn’s matches were both suspended following Ohio State’s victories on the other courts.

Over the weekend, Texas added two new games to their schedule, including an upcoming match against Abilene Christian University at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Whitaker Tennis Courts.

Junior Lloyd Glasspool has been one of the strongest competitors for the Longhorns this season. The team lost only one conference game this season.

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

After celebrating head coach Michael Center’s 50th birthday, the No. 7 men’s tennis team took on Baylor, but the results left little to be happy about.

The Longhorns took on No. 6 Baylor on Wednesday, with a loss of 2-5. Texas is now 19-4 overall and 3-1 in the Big 12. On Saturday, the Longhorns will compete in their final match of the regular season against Texas Tech. The Big 12 Men’s Championship will then be the next stop, on April 25 in Fort Worth.

Recently, the team defeated Big 12 Conference favorite and third-ranked Oklahoma with a score of 4-3 — its best win of the season.

Texas has had a great turnout with its 7-3 record against top-25 opponents this season. 

Men's Tennis Review

After getting rained out in their first match of the day, the Longhorns made quick work of their second match to give their head coach his 400th career win.

On Sunday, No. 13 Texas defeated UT-Permian Basin 6-0 in a match that was limited to singles matches only, after a rain delay forced the eventual cancellation of the morning match against No. 23 Tulsa. The win over UTPB, which is in its first season of men’s tennis at the Division II level, gave head coach Michael Center his 400th win as a head coach.

“When you start coaching, you don’t think about a number like 400,” Center said. “It feels good to reach that milestone, but obviously, you want to keep that going.”

In a match that only took 42 minutes to complete, Texas lost just three games out of the six singles matches, with juniors Ben Chen and Alex Hilliard and freshman Joey Swaysland posting identical 6-1, 6-0 scores in their matches while junior Chris Camillone, sophomore David Holiner and freshman Jacoby Lewis posted 6-0, 6-0 shutouts in their matches.

In the earlier match against Tulsa, Texas took the doubles points with wins from junior Daniel Whitehead and Chen, and sophomore Sudanwa Sitaram and Hilliard. The No. 40 doubles team of Camillone and Holiner fought through a tough match and long tiebreak to deal the No. 5 doubles team of Ashley Watling and Clifford Marslanda 7-6 (12) loss. About an hour into the singles matches, rain forced a delay, and the match was suspended due to intermittent rain and travel concerns for Tulsa.

With the victory, Center moves to a 400-150 (.727) career record and a 241-82 (.746) mark while head coach at Texas. Center has coached at Kansas and TCU and is currently in his 12th season here.

“This has been a great job for me at Texas,” Center said. “I don’t really look at it like a job. I wake up every morning and think about how to make the program and team better. I feel like it has been a lot of fun.”

The Longhorns will hit get a much needed break this week before returning to the courts to take on Oklahoma in their conference opener next Friday.

Men's Tennis

After starting the day with an easy win, the Longhorns had to overcome an unexpectedly tough opponent to earn their second win in a doubleheader on Saturday.

In the morning match, Texas defeated UT-Arlington 7-0 and turned around and got the 6-1 win over UTSA in the evening match. While the score against UTSA might suggest otherwise, the match was anything but a walk in the park for the No. 11 Longhorns.

“I’m going to give UTSA credit and say that I wasn’t very pleased with our performance in the singles matches,” head coach Michael Center said.

Texas swept all three doubles points to put a point on the board first. The doubles team of Alex Hilliard and Sudanwa Sitaram got on the board first with their 8-3 win over the Roadrunners’ number three doubles team. Jacoby Lewis and Joey Swaysland clinched the doubles point for Texas with an 8-5 win at the number two spot, while Chris Camillone and David Holiner finished the doubles sweep with their 8-4 win at the number one doubles line.

The singles matches are where Texas got into some trouble. Out of the six singles matches, all but one went to a third set. Sitaram scored a quick second point for the Longhorns with his 6-0, 6-1 win over Tyler Brown at the number two singles line. Junior Daniel Whitehead, ranked No. 69, got the break at 5 all in his first set against Yannick Junger, and served out the set at 7-5, but was unable to carry momentum into the second set, losing it 0-6. In the deciding set, Whitehead broke serve at love-four to get on the board, and won the next two games, but his comeback fell just short as he lost the set 3-6 to give UTSA its only point.

Freshman Lewis dropped his first set, but came back to claim the next two to win his match over Daniel Moser, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 to put the Longhorns within one point of clinching the match.

Freshman Lloyd Glasspool delivered the match-clinching point after dropping his first set, and fighting through a tiebreaker in the second to push the match to a third set, where he prevailed with the 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 over Joel Rubio.

After dropping the first set in a tiebreaker, Holiner had to fight his way back over UTSA’s Martin Ayala, but pulled out the next two sets to get the 6 (4)-7, 6-3, 6-3 win.

In the last match on, Hilliard had to fight through a third set after dropping the second. Just a few minutes after Holiner’s win, Hilliard finished the night with a 6-3, 6 (7)-7, 6-3 victory over David Kelleher at the number five singles spot.

Although Texas walked away with the victory, Center wasn’t happy with the way matches were played.

“I think that [UTSA was] out-working us,” Center said. “We were able to turn matches around and fight through tough situations, but we have to do a better job starting these matches.”

In the morning match against UT-Arlington, the Longhorns had almost no problems, winning two of the three doubles matches and sweeping the singles matches while only dropping two sets.

Center hopes the doubleheader will be a valuable learning experience for his young team.

“I’ll just chalk this one up to one of those days, but we’ve got to learn from it too,” Center said. “If we do that, we’ve got a really good team and I think we’ll improve.”

Men's Tennis

Making the transition from high school to college can be tough. Making the transition from being a high school athlete to a college athlete is even tougher. Making that transition more than 5,000 miles away from home while speaking a different language can seem flat-out impossible.

But tennis player Soren Hess-Olesen hasn’t let those challenges, or the notorious Texas heat, affect his performance out on the courts in his first fall season in burnt orange.

Hess-Olesen was recruited out of Aarhus, the second-largest city and principle port of Denmark, by head coach Michael Center to join the Longhorns. Hess-Olesen’s recruitment started with an email sent by his father to Center about his son’s skills as a player.

As it turned out, associate head coach Ricardo Rubio knew Hess-Olesen’s coach, and after some reseach Center decided to fly to Denmark to see Hess-Olesen play in the Danish National Indoor Championships. Center liked what he saw and offered Hess-Olesen a scholarship.

“He’s a very good competitor,” said Center. “I felt like he would be a guy that would come in and be a very good player for us right away and continue to develop during his time here.”

For Hess-Olesen, the decision to travel 5,000 miles to Austin to play tennis wasn’t a difficult one.

“I hadn’t seen this place before, but I knew it was a good team with a tradition in sports and tennis,” Hess-Olesen said. “[From] the things [coach Center] told me about it, I just got excited by hearing that, so I never really doubted where I wanted to go.”

Tennis came to Hess-Olesen at an early age in life. His father used to play the sport and passed it down to Hess-Olesen and his brothers.

“When we went on vacations with my family, we just played a bit just for the fun of it,” Hess-Olesen said. “Then my older brother started to play. Then my twin brother and I started to play just one or two years after my older brother.”

He started playing competitively when he was 10 years old but split his time between tennis and soccer until he decided to focus solely on tennis at the age of 15. The decision paid off, as he quickly became one of the top players in Denmark and played with the Danish national team, which toured throughout Europe.

“When I was a sophomore, I started thinking about going to college to play tennis,” Hess-Olesen said. “For me, I had two choices: I could try and play full time in Denmark or go [to UT].”

Realizing that turning professional wasn’t the most viable option, Hess-Olesen started looking at the college route.

“Coach Center came to Denmark to watch me play and convince me to choose Texas, so I chose Texas,” he said. “I know if I want to be a better tennis player, this was the best choice I could make.”

While Hess-Olesen doesn’t think the move to Austin from Denmark gave him much of a culture shock, he does admit that there’s a difference in the competition he faces here.

“It’s really about the mental game,” he said. “You can lose to anybody here if you’re not mentally prepared because there are so many good players. Every single school has one or two top players, so the competition is so much bigger. It’s a challenge, [but] a good one.”

Hess-Olesen has done pretty well with that challenge so far this season. In four tournaments, he has made it to the finals in two, but perhaps the bigger feat was his run to the quarterfinals in the ITA All-American Championships, one of three championship tournaments on the collegiate tennis circuit.

After getting his career as a Longhorn off to a strong start, Hess-Olesen is ready to continue building on that success.

“I’m looking forward to the spring, to start competing against other schools,” Hess-Olesen said. “I hope we can win the Big 12 conference title because I know that’s a very prestigious thing.”

Published on Thursday, November 10, 2011 as: Hess-Olesen adjusts to UT after leaving native land