By Cody Soto
Baylor and TCU brought another form of the school rivalry to Waco this weekend as the sixth ranked Bears women’s tennis team fought off an early deficit to take down the No. 21-ranked Horned Frogs 4-1 Sunday afternoon at the Hurd Tennis Center.
“It was a great team effort. They had great focus and determination,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “There were a lot of examples of good energy. The entire team played in the right way.”
Baylor started out slow in doubles play and struggled to keep the ball in play during the first half of competition. While junior Rachael James-Baker and sophomore Kelley Anderson dominated on court two, the other two pairings were struggling.
“Kelley and Rachael haven’t played together for a little while, so I was really proud of how they were able to gel and make the best of it,” Scrivano said.
James-Baker and Anderson took down TCU’s Palina Dubavets and Alexis Pereira 6-2 in a dominant fashion. Junior Kiah Generette and freshman Theresa Van Zyl got the short end of their battle on court three. The duo fell 6-3 to tie up doubles competition 1-1, forcing all eyes on court one.
The No. 10 pair of senior Ema Burgic and sophomore Blair Shankle had a 4-2 lead over No. 38 Stefanie Tan and Seda Arantekin, but TCU stormed back and took the next four games to win 6-4 and hand Baylor another doubles loss on the season.
With a 1-0 deficit, Baylor had to win four out of six singles matches in order to pull out the win.
Van Zyl shook off a loss in doubles play and set the tone on court six. She held her ground after TCU’s Pereira started making a comeback at the end of the opening set and won the match 6-3, 6-3 to put the Bears on the board and tie up the match 1-1.
Anderson was the second to wrap up singles play on court five. She dominated in the opening set but was challenged in the second set. Several of Anderson’s strokes went into the net late in the game, but the errors weren’t enough for the result to swing underway for the 6-2, 6-4 win.
Moments later, James-Baker finished an exciting match at the No. 4 spot. Although she was down 5-2 in the first set, she made a big comeback and played aggressive to take the momentum heading into set two. She defeated TCU’s Palina Dubavets 7-5, 6-4 for the Baylor 3-1 lead.
Finally, the second set had a championship feel to it. Shankle battled back after facing several set points and pushed it to a tiebreaker. All eyes were on her, and after the game was tied at 6-6, she took the next two points for the exciting 4-1 Baylor win.
“I’m just glad I was able to clinch the match for us; it was a tough match,” Shankle said.