By Will Potter
The No. 3 ranked women’s tennis team needed comebacks to win each of its dual matches last weekend, pulling out 4-3 victories over No. 55 Alabama on Saturday then No. 48 Rice on Sunday.
Both matches were part of the ITA National Team Indoor Qualifiers, and the wins put the women’s team in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va., beginning Feb. 18.
On Saturday, Baylor lost a doubles point and two of the first three singles points to dig themselves in a hole early but overcame the early deficit to win.
Sona Novakova secured the win for the Bears, beating No. 63 ranked Alexa Guarachi in three sets, 6-7, 6-2, 6-3.
On Sunday, Rice took two out of three doubles points to start off the match before Baylor’s singles play regained the lead and sealed the match.
“The way we won is by competing really hard and putting in our 100 percent effort and focus on the victory,” said senior Karolina Filipiak. “We knew what we had to do going in to the match it took us a little while but we got it done.”
With the match on the line, Sona Novakova came through for head coach Joey Scrivano’s team yet again with another three set win that clinched the match for Baylor. This time Novakova defeated Dominique Harmath by a score of 6-0, 6-7 (6), 6-4.
“I think that Sona has really embraced the attitude that we have here,” Scrivano said. “Her positive attitude and coachability have a major impact, and I couldn’t be more proud of her and the whole team for buying in to what we are doing here.”
Senior Jelena Stanivuk was confident there were positives that come from pulling out such a close match.
“We now know what we have to improve on, and starting tomorrow in practice, we know we have to be more focused.”
Next up for the women is a trip to Gainesville, Fla., to battle the second-ranked Florida Gators at 12 p.m. Saturday.
The Baylor men’s tennis team faced the unranked Islanders from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and had no problems of any kind. The Bears took care of the Islanders on every level throughout the match and won the dual, 7-0, improving their record on the year to 2-1.
Freshman Dennis Lengsfeld was the only Bear who needed a third set to win his match, recovering from a 6-1, second set loss to beat Robert Raguz 7-5 in the deciding third set.
Next up for the Baylor men are the sixth-ranked UCLA Bruins who come to the Baylor Tennis Center for a showdown of two of the top teams in the nation on Super Bowl Sunday. The match starts at noon.