Juliana Gajic

Senior Day and the last regular season match at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center will see seniors Elizabeth Begley and Juliana Gajic possibly play their last matches at home.

The Longhorns will face No. 14 Baylor (20-6, 8-0 Big 12) Friday. The Bears clinched the top seed in the conference tournament, and No. 20 Texas (11-10, 6-2) will look to take the third spot with a win.

“We’re always looking forward to playing Baylor,” head coach Patty Fendick-McCain said. “It’s always a great competitive match, and we’re focused on what we need to do.”

Begley resumes her No. 2 singles spot after moving to first with sophomore Breaunna Addison out against Oklahoma State. Both Begley and Gajic will also compete in doubles at their respective first and third spots.

“Hopefully this last match will be one of the most memorable ones they play,” Fendick-McCain said.

Texas and Baylor will begin play at 5 p.m.

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.

Junior Aeriel Ellis and the rest of the No. 21 Longhorns opened their season with a strong showing in Califorina.

Photo Credit: Trent Lesikar | Daily Texan Staff

The No. 21 ranked Longhorns started their season with some impressive showings at the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in California this past weekend.

The doubles tandem of freshmen Noel Scott and Lina Padegimaite battled their way through the doubles draw of the tournament, posting three straight wins before falling in the finals to Virginia’s Emily Fraser and Li Xi, 5-8.

Players posting wins the round of 32 in the singles draw included freshman Alex Martin, sophomores Juliana Gajic and Elizabeth Begley, as well as Scott and Padegimaite. Scott and Martin went on to post victories in the round of 16.
Other Longhorns that saw singles action on the first day included senior Carlene Leyden, sophomore Cierra Gaytan-Leach and freshman Annat Rabinovich.

In the singles quarterfinals junior Aeriel Ellis defeated teammate Martin, while Scott was defeated in her match. Ellis went on to lose in the semifinals, 4-6,2-6, to Fraser of Virginia.

In the singles consolation draw, Rabinovich posted a victory before being defeated by a player from USC, while Gaytan-Leach was defeated by a player from Virginia.

Texas ended the tournament on a high-note by posting four more singles victories from Gaytan-Leach, Begley, Gajic and senior Krista Damico.

Next up for the Longhorns is a tough stretch of matches with No. 9 Virginia due up this Saturday followed by No. 4 North Carolina on Sunday in New York.

Conference competition won’t be much easier, as Texas will face No. 6 ranked Baylor in Austin, while traveling to No. 25 Oklahoma and No. 29 Texas A&M. Last year the Longhorns beat Kansas State and Oklahoma before falling to the Texas A&M in the conference tournament, then went on to lose to No. 7 Miami in the second round of the NCAA Championships. The Longhorns finished the season ranked No. 23.

Printed on Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 as: After strong start, doubles team Scott and Padegimaite fall in final

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.”