Lina Padegimaite

In her time at Texas, senior Lina Padegimaite has made almost all A’s while leading the women’s tennis team.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Lina Padegimaite’s mind is almost always on her academics. In the training room, mid-treatment, Padegimaite peers closely at the notebook on her lap, focusing intently. 

The senior tennis player said she never imagined playing a college sport and making good grades would be as time-consuming as it is. Padegimaite, a native of Lithuania, learned to juggle school and tennis early on in her life and does not procrastinate as a rule. The discipline she practices in all areas of her life has paid off — Padegimaite has never had to pull an all-nighter for classes.

“I’m trying to get my schoolwork done before 11, so I have to make sure I get enough sleep to endure the practice tomorrow — because if you’re sleepless and you come into a Texas weight session or conditioning, that’s not going to last,” Padegimaite said.

Padegimaite calls herself “that” front-row student with her hand constantly raised or writing down notes.

“I can’t do the computer thing — I always handwrite,” Padegimaite said. “People still make fun of me because I’m graduating college with all A’s and one A-minus, and I can’t type without looking at the keyboard.”

Padegimaite, who will graduate in the spring with a degree in exercise science, was recently named to the Academic All-Big 12 Women’s Tennis Team for the third-consecutive year. Her academic productivity has even transferred to her friends, who have picked up some of her traits.

“I used to stay up late [finishing homework], but I haven’t really since I started living with her,” said astronomy senior Sarafina Nance, Padegimaite’s roommate. “Living in that environment inspires me to put more effort into my fitness and classes.”

Padegimaite has also found success on the court. Through her four years at Texas, she has earned Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year, All-Big 12 Doubles and even a Big 12 title in No. 5 singles. This season alone, the senior has proved her leadership on the team. Against Michigan State, in what Padegimaite called the highlight of her senior year, she overcame a huge deficit to bring the only points to Texas’ scoreboard.

“I was in this match where I was down in the third-set tiebreaker 9–1, and I came back to win it 11–9,” Padegimaite said. “I had to win 10 points in a row, which is pretty hard in any tennis game. Tennis is a huge mental game more than physical. For me, it’s about relying on my own skills and going for it, instead of holding back.”

This weekend, Texas faced its last two opponents of the regular season, Kansas and Kansas State, in Austin.

“It’s sad and exciting at the same time because I am an emotional person,” Padegimaite said. “When I step out on that court, knowing it’s my last match, I know I can get emotional, but I still have to do my job and get the win for the team.”

For Padegimaite, finishing college doesn’t mean closing the chapter at UT. She will be pursuing physical therapy at Texas State after she graduates but said she wants to stay connected to the community.

“I don’t think I’m going to end with this match or end with me graduating,” Padegimaite said. “There is a Texas Exes Association that can keep me involved and be a part of the Texas family forever.” 

Kinesiology lecturer Michael Sanders described Padegimaite as one of his best students. His wife, Barbara, is a chair in the physical therapy department at Texas State, where Padegimaite plans to study.

“I have an insight into all the things that being a physical therapist entails, and Lina is a unique individual that will excel at it,” Sanders said.

Texas recognized Padegimaite on Sunday for Senior Day before the match against Kansas, in which Texas toppled the Jayhawks, 4–0. And this weekend, Texas travels to Waco for the Big 12 Championship, where Padegimaite looks to end her college career with another highlight. 

“I’m not trying to put a lot of pressure on myself or anything,” Padegimaite said. “[I’ll] perform with pride and know this is an opportunity for me to shine. I’m just going to go all out like I always do.”

Senior Elizabeth Begley and junior Lina Padegimaite defended their home turf in doubles play Sunday, a week after they were shut out in Portland, Ore.

They advanced to the finals of the Longhorn Invitational after receiving a first-round bye and defeated two Wichita State tandems.

The two played against Rice’s Natalie Beazant and Stephanie Nguyen in the finals. After taking a 6-5 lead in the match, they broke Rice’s serve and held their own to win 8-6.

The win followed Saturday’s matches, which set Begley against Nguyen in the consolation singles round and Padegimaite versus Beazant in the singles quarterfinals. Begley won her match, while Padegimaite lost hers (3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6)).

At the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, sophomore Breaunna Addison and freshman Pippa Horn lost 8-5 to Louisville’s Julia Fellerhoff and Rebecca Shine in the first round.

Addison also dropped a top-ten matchup against No. 9 Julia Elbaba of Virginia after she made the singles draw as a wildcard.

Both events end the fall season for the Longhorns, who will begin the spring season mid-January at the Miami Invite.

The Longhorns brought four players to Portland for this weekend’s USTA College Invitational but failed to win a match.

On Friday, senior Elizabeth Begley and junior Lina Padegimaite lost in doubles to UCLA’s Courtney Dolehide and Catherine Harrison (8-5).

Padegimaite contested Duke’s Alyssa Smith in singles but lost 7-5, 6-7 (6), 7-5. Junior Annat Rabinovich and sophomore Lana Groenvynck lost in straight sets.

Saturday was the same for Texas. Of the four matches the Longhorns competed in, they won only one set, which Padegimaite earned, giving her two for the weekend.

Begley was the only Longhorn to compete on Sunday and dropped a 6-2, 6-2 decision to Texas A&M’s Anna Mamalat.

The team will have to regroup in time for the Longhorn Invitational this week. Texas will also send two players, sophomore Breaunna Addison and freshman Pippa Horn, to New York on Thursday to compete in the ITA National Indoor Collegiate Championship.

Women's Tennis

Damp and windy conditions throughout the weekend did not slow down the Longhorns as they earned a berth in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships next month.

Due to these weather conditions Saturday, the Longhorns’ match against Wichita State was postponed over four hours.

When the match resumed, Texas came out strong. 

In doubles, Breaunna Addison and Noel Scott teamed up to claim an 8-6 win after a 7-4 lead turned to 7-6. Lina Padegimaite and Annat Rabinovich won in an 8-7 (7-2) tiebreaker. The two wins gave the Longhorns the doubles point.

Wichita State made the decision to play only five singles players, so the No. 6 matches were defaulted giving the Longhorns a 2-0 lead.

Addison and Elizabeth Begley clinched their matches for the Longhorns at No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively.

Sunday brought even windier conditions, but the Longhorns held strong against Utah.

Despite losing the doubles point, singles play was all Longhorns. Begley earned a 6-0, 6-2 win at No. 4 singles while Padegimaite took No. 5 singles with a 6-3, 6-0 win to give the Horns a 2-1 advantage.

Addison held off a charge in the second set to win her match. Scott followed a few minutes after with a 6-4, 6-2 win after trailing 1-4 in the first set, winning the match for the Longhorns 4-1.

“I thought everyone came back really nicely after losing the doubles point,” Begley said. “Every one of us was focused on getting a singles point after the doubles.”

The win over Utah sends the Longhorns to the University of Virginia on Feb. 8 for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.

Women's Tennis

The Longhorns’ improved performance at the Texas Regional Championships ends one day earlier than expected. Despite being shut out of the semifinals, the team gained valuable experience playing deep into the meet.

The doubles tandem of senior Aeriel Ellis and sophomore Noel Scott squared off against Texas Tech’s Nikki Sanders and Rashmi Teltumbde in Monday’s quarterfinals. But the success of their 8-3 wins during the weekend did not translate into another win, as they were eliminated, 8-4.

While Ellis and Scott took the court against the Red Raiders, junior Elizabeth Begley and sophomore Lina Padegimaite went up against Baylor’s Ema Burgic and Jordaan Sanford. But Begley and Padegimaite could not stave off elimination as the Lady Bears won 8-5.

With the two losses Monday morning, the Longhorns will not have the chance to make it to the National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships by automatic qualification.

The women made the most of their opportunities in Waco. Five of the six Texas players managed to rack up multiple wins at the meet. As early as it is in the season, it is important for the Longhorns to gain as many wins as possible and advance to face tougher competition.

The most surprising aspect of the Longhorns play in Waco came from their doubles teams. Sophomores Scott and Padegimaite played the last two meets together, yet this weekend they paired up with Ellis and Begley, respectively. Both teams still managed to notch a couple of wins despite not having played together in nearly a month.

Women's Tennis

The Longhorns made plenty of noise this weekend with the Texas Regionals under way in Waco. Four Longhorns took action in the singles round of 32, with two advancing further.

Sophomore Noel Scott started the weekend strong, as she cruised through her first three matches, all in straight sets, and went on to defeat Texas A&M’s Wen Sun (6-4, 6-3) to advance to the quarterfinals. Scott hit a roadblock Sunday afternoon as she was eliminated by Aggie Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (6-4, 6-2).

Senior Aerial Ellis advanced to the round of 16 in a different manner than that of her teammate Scott. After a bye in the first round, Ellis went to three sets in each of her next three matches. She won the first two (6-2, 2-6, 6-1) and (7-5, 4-6, 6-4), but was upended by TCU’s Stefanie Tan (1-6, 6-3, 2-6) in her third match.

Junior Elizabeth Begley and sophomore Lina Padegimaite also appeared in the round of 32. Begley was eliminated in straight sets to Rice’s Natalie Beazant (7-5, 6-4). Unfortunately, Padegimaite retired due to injury in the second set of her match against Texas Tech’s Elizabeth Ullathorne.

Two Longhorn doubles teams experienced success during the weekend, and put themselves in a position to meet in the semifinals. The team of Ellis and Scott reached the quarterfinals with two 8-3 match wins. Begley and Padegimaite advanced to the quarterfinals with match wins of 8-2 and 9-7.

The pairs look to advance to the final four Monday morning.

The Longhorns made plenty of noise this weekend with the Texas Regionals under way in Waco. Four Longhorns took action in the singles round of 32, with two advancing further.

Sophomore Noel Scott started the weekend strong, as she cruised through her first three matches, all in straight sets, and went on to defeat Texas A&M’s Wen Sun (6-4, 6-3) to advance to the quarterfinals. Scott hit a roadblock Sunday afternoon as she was eliminated by Aggie Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (6-4, 6-2).

Senior Aerial Ellis advanced to the round of 16 in a different manner than that of her teammate Scott. After a bye in the first round, Ellis went to three sets in each of her next three matches. She won the first two (6-2, 2-6, 6-1) and (7-5, 4-6, 6-4), but was upended by TCU’s Stefanie Tan (1-6, 6-3, 2-6) in her third match.

Junior Elizabeth Begley and sophomore Lina Padegimaite also appeared in the round of 32. Begley was eliminated in straight sets to Rice’s Natalie Beazant (7-5, 6-4). Unfortunately, Padegimaite retired due to injury in the second set of her match against Texas Tech’s Elizabeth Ullathorne.

Two Longhorn doubles teams experienced success during the weekend, and put themselves in a position to meet in the semifinals. The team of Ellis and Scott reached the quarterfinals with two 8-3 match wins. Begley and Padegimaite advanced to the quarterfinals with match wins of 8-2 and 9-7.

The pairs look to advance to the final four Monday morning.

Coming off elimination in the qualifying doubles draw, Texas sophomores Lina Padegimaite and Noel Scott took the court Wednesday in search of a victory that previously eluded them.

The duo that lost Tuesday played against Harvard’s Kristin Norton and Hideko Tachibana in the first round of the qualifying doubles consolation bracket in the ITA All-American Championships, and found success, winning 8-3. With the victory, the Longhorns are an even 4-4 in matches played through day five.

The main singles draw begins Thursday morning, with No. 20 Aeriel Ellis, the Longhorns’ last hope, going up against No. 52 Petra Januskova of Penn State at 12:30 p.m. When Ellis steps on the court Thursday afternoon, it will be her first competitive match since Sept. 16 at the Duke Invitational, since she missed out on the Longhorn Invitational.

Ellis will make her fourth appearance in the championships, having participated in the event all four of her years as a Longhorn. She will look to improve upon a round of 16 appearances in last year’s meeting and provide Texas with some needed momentum.

The Longhorns hit the courts in Los Angeles this weekend for the Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championship. The meeting spans eight days, providing tennis fans with plenty of matches under the sun.

After a disappointing end to last week’s home stand, the women will look to add more victories and gain some confidence. Junior Elizabeth Begley and sophomores Noel Scott and Lina Padegimaite will compete in the pre-qualifying singles draw. Senior Aeriel Ellis will compete in the main singles draw.

This is Padegimaite’s first time playing in a singles competition this season. Ranked No. 104 in the preseason rankings, collecting wins during the next eight days will be important to help her move up.

Scott and Begley will both need to step up their games a notch in order to get to the finals again and win this time.

The sophomores will also compete in the qualifying doubles draw Oct. 2 as they build upon the success they displayed last Friday.

The Longhorns begin play at the Riviera Tennis Club Saturday with the pre-qualifying singles draw.

The Longhorns set the tone for the weekend on Friday. Adversity set in for the longhorns after a weekend of play.

Sophomores Noel Scott and Lina Padegimaite began a strong day for the Texas players. The pair won their opening match versus LSU then defeated UTSA’s Isabelle Jonsson and Jacobea Junger 8-4.

“Lina and Noel were dominating today in doubles and it was fun to see them back on the court together,” Head Coach Patty Fendick-McCain said.

Three other Longhorns claimed victory Friday. Sophomore Annat Rabinovich evaded a third set in her match against Leah Fried of Rice University, winning in straight sets, 6-1 and 7-5.

Juniors Elizabeth Begley and Juliana Gajic each won their opening matches, eliminating Jonsson and Junger.

Coach Fendick-McCain was impressed with the performance of Begley, attributing her success to her overall improvement.

“She’s adding a whole new dimension to her game. She’s stretching the court out, her volleys are improving dramatically and she’s getting comfortable finishing at the net,” Fendick-McCain said.

Despite the success on day one, Gajic and Begley were ousted from doubles play 8-4 by Houston. Scott had to retire from singles down 1-4 because of illness.

On Saturday, Begley and Rabinovich dominated as each collected a pair of wins in their respective brackets, gaining slots in the finals on Sunday.

With Scott back on the court, she and Padegimaite were eliminated 8-3 in the semifinals by SMU. Gajic lost in straight sets to Barbora Vykydalova of North Texas.

In the Orange bracket final on Sunday, Begley fell to SMU’s Aleksandra Malyarchikova in straight sets 6-4, 6-2. She had the chance to push the first set to 5-5, but lost after a couple of rounds of deuces.

Rabinovich had her hands full in the Black bracket final, splitting the first two sets with Tulane’s Ipec Birol, including a tough 7-6 loss in the first set. Birol would claim the final set 6-4 and the match as Longhorns lose in the finals for a second straight week.

The Longhorns head to Los Angeles Sept. 29 for the week long ITA All-American Championship.