Amanda Craddock

The Texas women’s tennis squad picked up two key conference victories over the weekend against Oklahoma State and No. 22 Oklahoma.

First the Longhorns trounced the Cowgirls 6-1 on Friday.

Junior Krista Damico and sophomore Aeriel Ellis began the match with a convincing 8-2 triumph over OSU’s doubles pair of Nataliya Shatkovskaya and C.C. Sardinha. Freshmen Cierra Gaytan-Leach and senior Amanda Craddock secured the doubles point for UT, beating Oklahoma State’s second pairing of Kanyapat Narratana and Malika Rose 8-5.

Afterward, Texas freshman Juliana Gajic and senior Maggie Mello survived the stamina battle against OSU’s Sasha Belova and Leyla Simmons, winning 7-6 (4) in a tiebreaker.

“That was probably the best doubles we have played all year,” said Texas head coach Patty Fendick-McCain. “Oklahoma State is a tough team. I think our girls were really mentally prepared to go in and do some damage.”

Ellis began the singles side of the match with a 6-4, 4-0 win over Belova, giving UT a 2-0 lead overall. Craddock was next in line, prevailing 6-4, 6-1 over Sardinha.

“I had to be really aggressive towards her,” Craddock said. “It was really just who could last longer and put away the shots.”

Gaytan-Leach sealed the Longhorn victory with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph over Sarah Meghoufel.

“The Big 12 is the strongest it’s ever been this year,” Fendick-McCain said. “Obviously, getting that one under our belts feels pretty good.”

Texas faced the Sooners on Sunday. The Longhorns sent their seniors off in good style, beating Oklahoma in the last home match of the season.

Texas had a tough break to start the match, losing the doubles point to Oklahoma in a tie-breaker.

Craddock and Gaytan-Leach began, beating OU’s Ana-Maria Constantinescu and Alice Radu 8-3. Afterward, Gajic and Mello fell to OU’s Tara Eckel and Marie-Pier Huet 4-8. Damico and Ellis were defeated in a back and forth tie-breaker, 7-5.

Behind 0-1, Gaytan-Leach defeated OU’s Maria Kalashnikova 6-0, 6-3 after Ritchie retired from her match against Mello, forfeiting 7-5, 2-1. Damico pushed UT’s lead to 3-1, beating Constantinescu 6-4, 6-4.

“It was a stressful beginning, but it forced me to dig down deep,” Damico said. “It’s always great to win against the big ones like OU and Texas A&M.”

Gajic clinched the victory for Texas, prevailing over Lancaster.

“This is a pivotal win,” Fendick-McCain said. “The sooners have been a very tough team and have been ahead of us most of the year. We were up to the challenge today, and knew it was coming.”

The women’s tennis team gained two conference victories this weekend against the Kansas (6-0) and Kansas State (5-2).

The Longhorns traveled to Lawrence, Kan., on Friday for their first opponent, K-State. Senior Amanda Craddock and freshmen Cierra Gaytan-Leach began the event by beating K-State’s Petra Niedermayerova and Nina Sertic 8-4. Junior Krista Damico and sophomore Aeriel Ellis then sealed the doubles points for UT by winning 8-6 against Antea Huljev and Karla Bonacic for the Wildcats.

Seniors Caroline Larsson and Maggie Mellow had key singles wins over Carmen Borau Ramos and Bonacic. Craddock sealed the victory with a triumph over Ana Gomez Aleman.

Juliana Gajic also prevailed over Sertic during fifth singles.

The Longhorns remained in Lawrence, Kan., for March 26, when they trounced Kansas 6-0.

Damico and Ellis teamed up to beat Erin Wilbert and Sara Lazarevic for the Jawhawks 8-3. Gajic and Mello then prevailed 8-6 over Monica Pezzotti and Paulina Los for Kansas, securing the doubles point for UT.

Mello had another win against Lazarevic during her singles play, and Damico beat Pezzotti to expand the Longhorns’ lead. Larsson sealed the victory for Texas when she beat Wilbert at fifth singles.

Craddock and Ellis secured the shutout, beating the Jayhawks’ Los and Ekaterina Morozova during singles play.

The Longhorns’ next Big 12 Conference event is scheduled for Friday, April 1, against Texas Tech in Lubbock.