By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor
Baylor women’s tennis advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament Friday afternoon in Los Angeles with a thrilling 4-3 win over NC State.
The Lady Bears fell behind 3-0 before mounting their comeback to take the final four singles matches and claim the victory.
Baylor head coach Joey Scrivano said that his team shoed a tremendous amount of heart, refusing to go down without a fight.
“The circumstances were completely against us for the three hours and 55 minutes. We were behind in the match, but we have some really gritty players on our team and they refused to lose today or give up. I’m really proud of them,” Scrivano said.
NC State started strong claiming the doubles point with victories on courts one and two.
On court one, Freshmen Dominika Sujova and Giorgia Testa dropped a 6-2 decision to the 19th ranked duo of sophomore Anna Rogers and junior Claudia Wiktorin. Then on court two, senior Theresa Van Zyl and sophomore Jessica Hinojosa dropped a 6-3 decision, as the Wolfpack charged ahead 1-0.
NC State kept up the pressure and the momentum in the singles competition, claiming victories on courts two and four as the Wolfpack raced ahead 3-0.
On court two, sophomore Camilla Abbate dropped a 6-3, 6-0 decision and on court four, Hinojosa lost 7-6(1) 6-4.
But Baylor refused to give up, coming through with four tough three set victories.
On court six, sophomore Angie Shakraichuk took out senior Tayla Stenta 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 to get Baylor on the board.
After dropping the opening set 6-4 to junior Bianca Moldovan, freshman Livia Kraus dominated the final two sets, 6-2, 6-2 as Baylor cut the deficit to 3-2.
After a dominant 6-0 win in her opening set, Van Zyl then dropped the second set 6-4 before getting a late break and collecting a 6-4 victory in the third set over Rogers.
“I was so proud of her,” Scrivano said. “She’s had a challenging season playing No. 1 singles and having to play against the best in the country week in and week out. I love that she kept believing and doing the right thing. It was a huge win.”
Finally, on court three Kristina Sorokolet took the opening set 6-4 before freshman Taylor Bridges evened the match with a 7-5 win in the second. But Sorokolet claimed the victory and the match for Baylor with a 6-3 win, sending the Lady Bears on to the second round.
“They’ve grown so much over the course of the season. To win any kind of match in the postseason is such a great experience.They could have easily given up today and let go, but they chose to keep fighting,” Scrivano said. “We’re excited about tomorrow, and we’re also excited about their future and what they can accomplish down the road.”
Baylor (18-13) will take on No. 12 UCLA at 5 p.m. CT Saturday.