By Will Potter
The No. 7 Baylor women’s tennis team finished the regular season with a 6-1 win over No. 41 Texas Tech and a seventh straight Big 12 regular season championship.
With the win, the Baylor improved to 10-1 in conference play and was the lone team in the conference to finish the season with only one Big 12 loss. The win over the Red Raiders also earns Baylor the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 championship at the Baylor Tennis Center starting Thursday.
“The girls came into tonight with the mindset that they wanted to be the undisputed Big 12 regular season champions, and it showed on the court,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “The ladies have had their ups and downs and really used the practices they had to get better every day. It never gets old holding up the Big 12 trophy.”
The Lady Bears clinched at least a partial share of the Big 12 title Wednesday with a win over Texas A&M in College Station and had to beat the Red Raiders at home to grasp the championship outright. They did exactly that.
“It always feels so good to hold that trophy at the end of the Big 12 season,” senior Taylor Ormond said. “We made it close early on by losing that match to Kansas State, but we did a good job of turning it around by winning all of our other matches and taking care of business against the rest of the Big 12.”
The Lady Bears jumped on Texas Tech quickly, winning two out of the three doubles matches to gain an early 1-0 edge. At the No. 1 doubles spot, senior Karolina Filipiak and junior Nina Secerbegovic knocked off Samantha Adams and Kelsy Garland, 8-4.
The clinching doubles match on court three as junior Diana Nakic and junior Sona Novakova rallied from an early deficit and defeated Elizabeth Ullathorne and Haley Fournier, 9-7.
Once singles play rolled around, the Lady Bears were focused on one thing, the Big 12 championship, and they were relentless. Baylor won the first four singles matches on court and were victorious in five of the six matches overall. Senior Jelena Stanivuk clinched the match and the championship for Baylor with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 demolition of Haley Fournier from Texas Tech.
“Winning the championship this year has definitely been the toughest of my four years because of all the injuries, and we are still trying to get our game right,” senior Jelena Stanivuk said. “I am a senior, and this one really means a lot to me. It is an awesome feeling.”
Winning major conference championships year after year is not an easy feat, and Scrivano said the Baylor women’s tennis program has been built by hard work and shaped by the people involved with it.
“It’s tough, day in and day out, to get up for the intensity that it takes to win a championship,” Scrivano said. “Thankfully, I have players and a coaching staff that understand that, and they continue to bring it every day.”
The Lady Bears will attempt to make it six consecutive Big 12 tournament championships this weekend as they host the Big 12 tournament starting Thursday in Waco.