By Larissa Campos
Despite his best efforts to evade being drenched, head coach Joey Scrivano was unsuccessful in avoiding the contents of the water jug as the Baylor women’s tennis team celebrated its ninth Big 12 title in 11 years.
“That was the best bath I’ve had in a long time,” Scrivano said. “I missed having that bath last year and I couldn’t wait to get it this year. To win any kind of championship takes a tremendous amount of work. We battled a lot of adversity this year and it was great to see a completely new team have this experience.”
The Lady Bears took down the 15th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders 4-3 on Sunday to clinch the title and extend the winning streak to 8 games. The win left both teams with an 8-1 conference record, leaving the Red Raiders and Lady Bears to share this year’s regular season Big 12 title.
“It was hard to believe in the middle of the season that this would happen right now,” sophomore Ema Burgic said. “But we believed it, we never gave up and now it’s paying off.”
In Sunday’s match, the Lady Bears pulled ahead early as Baylor’s 17th-ranked duo of freshman Victoria Kisialeva and Burgic pulled off an upset against Tech’s 15th-ranked Samantha Adams and Kenna Kilgo, 8-4. Shortly after, junior Alex Leatu and freshman Kiah Generette secured the doubles point with an 8-4 win over Caroline Starck and Elizabeth Ullathorne.
Momentum was on Baylor’s side going into singles action, and the Lady Bears would strike first with a victory in straight sets by Burgic, making it her 14th consecutive win on court 1.
Despite an answering point from Tech on court 6 to put the score at 2-1, Baylor kept the momentum going with another point from junior Jordaan Sanford. She got past Tech’s Rashmi Teltumbde 6-4, 6-3.
Freshman Victoria Kisialeva would clinch the win for the Lady Bears while also breaking her own five-game losing streak as she swept past Kilgo in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.
The young team faced adversity from the start of the season. With four starters missing the fall season due to injuries, the team lacked experience on the court. The obstacles would keep coming throughout this season with the loss of sophomore Megan Horter to a broken arm. Still, the Lady Bears persevered. Scrivano is happy with the hard work and focus his players put in to winning this title, but he says the Lady Bears have yet to reach their peak.
“The biggest challenge we faced was having so many new players this season,” Scrivano said. “But the best is yet to come for us. This whole team will be back next year so the future is really bright.”
The team will head to Norman, Okla. for the Big 12 Tournament as the No. 1 seed. The Lady Bears will look to continue their winning streak against the winner of the No.8 seed Kansas and No. 9 seed Iowa State match on Friday at 9 a.m.