By Cody Soto
No. 15 Baylor women’s tennis kicked off its spring season with a big 4-3 upset over No. 5 Georgia Sunday afternoon at the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center.
“I am really proud of the way the girls fought today,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “They showed a lot of heart and spirit. They have put in a lot of work and it is paying off.”
The Lady Bears started out the meet in doubles competition, and senior Ema Burgic and sophomore Blair Shankle topped Georgia’s Lauren Henning and Ellen Perez with a 6-1 win. That would be the only doubles match that Baylor would take over the Lady Bulldogs.
Freshmen Kelley Anderson and Leolia JeanJean fell 6-2 to Georgia’s Caroline Brinson and Hannah King on court three, and Georgia’s Silvia Garcia and Kennedy Shaffer took a close 7-5 win over juniors Rachael James-Baker and Kiah Generette. With the wins on courts two and three, Georgia took a 1-0 lead over Baylor heading into singles play.
The Lady Bears had to win four out of six singles matches in order to win the meet, and with Generette taking down Perez 6-1, 6-2, the battle had begun. Anderson fell to King 6-1, 7-5, and Georgia had taken a 2-1 lead in the match.
Burgic defeated Herring 6-2, 6-3 to tie up the match, and Shankle’s 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 win on court three gave Baylor its first lead of the match. James-Baker dropped a 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) decision to Georgia’s Caroline Brinson, and all eyes looked to the Montpellier, France freshman on court four.
JeanJean and her opponent Shaffer finished off the meet in a thrilling fashion and went to two tiebreaker sets, but JeanJean prevailed for a 7-6 (8-6), 6-7 (5-7), 7-5 win to give the match to the Lady Bears.
“She is an incredible competitor,” Scrivano said. “She is a warrior and got to show that pretty quickly. Now it is just a matter of adding more tools to her game, but the fight and spirit is there. That as a coach is what you want to build off of.”
The Lady Bears (1-0) will host Virginia in the team’s second home match on Saturday night at 6 p.m. All matches will be played at the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center. Admission is free to the event.