Lana Groenvynck

In the season home opener Saturday, the No. 23 Texas women’s tennis team took down No. 32 Rice, 43.

The Owls opened the match well, as they took the doubles point. Rice was able to take the first two doubles to capture the point, although Texas sophomore Ratnika Batra and junior Lana Groenvynck won the third round of doubles, 62.

In the singles competition, the Longhorns turned the game around and dominated the Owls. Texas gained its four points from the match, as sophomores Batra and Neda Koprcina and freshmen Ryann Foster and Danielle Wagland completely swept their competition.

In fifth singles, Wagland tied the score 33 with a 61, 63 win against Rice sophomore Alison Ho. And in second singles, Foster secured Texas’ victory, defeating Rice senior Liat Zimmermann, 62, 63.

No. 84 Longhorn junior Breaunna Addison struggled against No. 24 Rice senior Natalie Beazant, and fell 61, 57, 75. Likewise, Rice junior Solomiya Zinko knocked off Groenvynck in sixth singles, 61, 26, 76.

Texas heads west to Southern California to play its next dual-match on Valentine’s Day weekend against Pepperdine and USC.    

Texas powered past host Oklahoma State and narrowly slipped past Texas Tech before claiming a second straight conference title.

Freshman Lana Groenvynck provided the biggest spark for the Longhorns in the tournament to keep their title hopes alive.

In the semifinals, the Longhorns and Texas Tech were tied at three before Groenvynck went to a third set against Caroline Starck, and led 6-5 with the deciding game at deuce. She double faulted twice on the first two match points. With the advantage for the third time, she faulted her first serve, but delivered an underhand serve on the next that was not returned to win the match, putting the Longhorns in the championship.

“That was the best underhand serve I think I’ve ever seen,” head coach Patty Fendick-McCain said. “It’s tough as a freshman. Lana began in January and that’s a lot for her to carry on
her shoulder.”

The Longhorns carried their momentum into the championship match against Oklahoma State, earning the doubles point to go up 1-0. Groenvynck pushed the lead to 2-0 in straight sets over Karyn Guttormsen.

Fellow freshman Breaunna Addison added another win to put the Longhorns in position to win the championship.

Senior Aeriel Ellis clinched the match at No. 1 singles as the Longhorns defeated the Cowgirls 4-0.

This is the ninth conference title for Longhorns (17-10, 10-2) since 1997. With the crown, the team gained an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship, which begins May 10.

Texas is taking the Big 12 by storm, and Thursday’s match against Iowa State proved it.

The Longhorns and Cyclones met under cloudy conditions with a slight wind, but the weather did not faze Texas.

The match started off with doubles play. Early on, all three teams were in control, with Elizabeth Begley/Aeriel Ellis and Lina Padegimaite/Lana Groenvynck taking 4-0 leads at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles.

Begley/Ellis put the Longhorns up in doubles with a convincing 8-1 win after Ellis followed a Cyclone error at the net with a strong return on the next serve.

No. 19 Breaunna Addison/Noel Scott clinched the doubles point for Texas with an 8-3 win. A win at No. 3 doubles completed the doubles sweep.

In singles, Padegimaite gave Texas a 2-0 lead with straight 6-1 set wins.

The top of the Longhorns order had early struggles against the Cyclones. At No. 3 singles, Scott fell down 2-4 in the first but rallied to win four straight games to claim the set.

Addison and Iowa State’s Ksenia Pronina each held their serves in the first until Addison broke Pronina to win 6-4. She put Texas in control of the match 3-0 with a 6-0 second set win.

At No. 6 singles, freshman Groenvynck beat Caroline Andersen in straight sets (6-1, 6-1) and clinched the match. Texas won 7-0, its third straight Big 12 win (3-0 on the season).  

The Longhorns return to the courts Friday against No. 11 Miami at 2 p.m.