Another game, set, match and the Longhorns are sitting comfortably at the No. 9 spot in the ITA women’s college tennis poll. Coming off a pair of wins to start conference play, the team aims to top Illinois.
Under coach Patty Fendick-McCain, the Longhorns hold a 9-4 record overall, including a 2-0 record in conference play. All of their matches except three have been played against top 25 teams.
Victories over such schools as Vanderbilt, North Carolina and Michigan have solidified the women’s spot as one of the top teams in the country. As impressive as their wins have been, the women have showed flashes of brilliance even in defeat.
The team’s resilience was seen early on in the season when they dropped their first two matches in the ITA National Indoor Team Championships. But they came back and handily defeat Clemson to close out the tournament.
“I am just really proud of the resiliency we showed,” Fendick-McCain said. “It is difficult to come back for a third day in a row, much less after two tough losses. All I can say is I am just really proud of the girls.”
The team has been on a roll following these tough defeats. In their most recent games, they have compiled a 6-1 record and proved that not even losses can slow them down. The lone loss in this period came at the hands of USC. The Longhorns battled the Trojans, but lost by a 4-3 margin.
“They played really well against us, and that is a credit to them,” Fendick-McCain said. “I did like how we fought back in the last three matches, as it is one of those situations where we could have lost the match and let it snowball into a 7-0 loss.”
At this point in the season, senior Krista Damico has emerged as a big star for the Longhorns. Damico was recently named Big 12 women’s tennis player of the week after compiling three victories last week, including one over an ITA top 20 opponent. Damico has not lost since the season opener, which puts her at 10 consecutive victories to date.
All-American Aeriel Ellis also continues to produce big wins in singles competition. She has had two victories over top 20 opponents and one against the No. 2 ranked player in the nation. Ellis is currently ranked as the No. 24 player in the nation in singles competition.
Veterans of this Longhorn squad aren’t the only women producing this year, as underclassmen have stepped up tremendously to support the team’s stars. Freshman Noel Scott has had a brilliant season thus far, posting 14 singles victories and currently sitting at No. 122 in singles competition. Freshman Lina Padegimaite has also performed well, boasting eight singles victories to only four losses.
Published on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 as:Resilience vital in Texas' recent victories