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By Larissa Campos
With only four returning players from last season, the Baylor women’s tennis team is still in the process of becoming elite. The Lady Bears received a 15th overall ranking earlier this month by the International Tennis Association, but head coach Joey Scrivano thinks the team still has a lot to prove.
“Quite honestly, we aren’t where we need to be,” Scrivano said. “We are a young and unproven team, and there are a lot of steps we need to go through.”
The youth on the team has forced some younger players to step up into leadership roles for the team. As one of the four returning players, sophomore Ema Burgic has felt the need to become a leader this season.
“We are a really young team and have a lot of new girls,” Burgic said. “It’s important for us to keep everyone on the same page and make the new girls trust and believe in what our program is doing.”
Along with having to overcome a lack of collegiate experience, the team has also dealt with a number of injuries. Alex Clay and Alex Leatu transferred to Baylor last year. However, both players suffered shoulder injuries and were unable to play in the fall.
Leatu debuted for the program at the HEB Invitational last weekend, but Clay is still a month away from returning to the court.
To start the season, the team won both the singles and doubles title at the HEB Invitational last weekend. Junior Megan Horter was undefeated and claimed the singles title for the Bears. The doubles duo of freshman Victoria Kisialeva and Burgic also saw victories on all three days in the tournament, locking in the doubles title.
Scrivano said he was happy with Horter’s performance last weekend and credits her success to her hard work.
“I’m excited for Megan Horter because she’s put in a lot of hard work,” Scrivano said. “It’s just nice to see some positive things happen for her.”
Despite a satisfying win this weekend, Scrivano said that it is important not to get too excited about the team’s win and make sure they stay focused on being consistent.
“We’re not really getting too excited about any result right now,” Scrivano said. “It’s going to take a consistency of doing the right things on a daily basis.”
The Lady Bears opened up their official season Thursday against Sam Houston State. Baylor won every match in straight sets, including a 6-0, 6-0 victory from Burgic, and earned the 7-0 sweep.
Baylor will host the ITA Indoor Championship qualifier matches this weekend. The Bears open up play against Florida State at 11 a.m. Saturday on their home court.