By Cody Soto
The Baylor tennis program is the host for this year’s Big 12 Championships, and both tennis teams are on a mission to win their second consecutive tournament titles this weekend in Waco. Both men’s and women’s tennis clinched the regular season Big 12 championships and look to add another set of titles to their overflowing trophy case.
No. 2 Baylor tennis plays the winner of No. 3-seed TCU vs. No. 6-seed Oklahoma State at noon on Saturday. The Big 12 championship team blanked both teams 4-0 during Big 12 play in Waco.
However, no team can be taken lightly in the three-day tournament. Four of the top 10 teams are in the Big 12 conference, so the Bears are in for a battle in every match they play this weekend.
“We’re playing in the best conference in the country, it’s going to be unbelieveable,” head coach Matt Knoll said. “We want to put our best foot forward.”
Baylor defeated No. 6 TCU on March 3, but the score didn’t do the match justice. All four points were hard earned, and the Bears can expect the same fire from the Horned Frogs if they play them.
On the contrary, Oklahoma State has had a struggling season in the Big 12. The Cowboys went 0-for-5 in conference play, but the matchup with the Bears didn’t show that.
If Baylor were to advance, the team will play in the championship match versus either Oklahoma, No. 4-seed Texas or No. 5-seed Texas Tech. The real question is this: can Baylor finally beat Oklahoma?
“We are looking forward to this weekend,” senior Mate Zsiga said. “It’s a good opportunity for us. We’ve played the best teams in the country, and we came up a little short against the number one team in the nation. But we’re ready to go to the postseason with this experience.”
If Baylor wins, it plays in the championship match at noon on Sunday at the Hurd Tennis Center.
The reigning Big 12 champions face No. 9-seed Kansas State in the Big 12 quarterfinals at 3 p.m. today as they look to take their second straight tournament crown. Baylor breezed through conference play at home, but the Bears stumbled a bit while on the road.
Baylor’s only loss was to Texas Tech. With a win against KSU and Texas Tech’s loss to TCU, the Bears claimed the outright title.
Heading into the tourney, home court advantage is a big factor for all teams.
“It just adds a little motivation to know that you’re playing in front of our university and your community; we’re excited to play at home,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “We’re going to take advantage of it. We’re going to use it in the best way we can.”
No. 2-seed Texas Tech is on the other side of the bracket, followed by No. 3-seed Oklahoma State, No. 6-seed Kansas and No. 7-seed Oklahoma. Baylor could play No. 4-seed TCU or No. 5-seed Texas if they advance to the semifinal round of the tournament. Both wins were 4-0 sweeps for the Bears during the regular season.
Assuming the Bears win, they play in the semifinals at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Hurd Tennis Center. The championship match will be played on Sunday.