Women’s tennis nabs opening sweep

Buenos Aires, Argentina junior Mel Krywoj and Mar Del Plata, Argentina sophomore Paula Barañano celebrate after winning their doubles match against Georgia State. Brittney Matthews | Multimedia Journalist

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

Baylor women’s tennis shut out Georgia State 7-0 in its season opening match Friday night at the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center to improve to a 15-3 record in season openers under head coach Joey Scrivano.

Scrivano said he was proud of his team for playing disciplined and handling the match well.

“They did a great job with the mental aspect,” Scrivano said. “Georgia State came out and they competed really hard. We knew they were going to be a feisty, loud and really competitive team. Our team did a great job of handling that. It’s not easy. There are definitely obstacles, even when you’re the favorite.”

In front of a strong showing of fans, most of who’d arrived early for Faith and Family night, the Bears started quick by taking the doubles point, which has been a bit of an “Achilles heel” for Baylor in the past, according to Scrivano.

“Right now, we have the type of players that play the way that you can be conducive in doubles,” Scrivano said. “We have a team that serves really big, returns really well and has an aggressive mindset. That translates very well in doubles. It’s exciting. We’re definitely going to win a lot of doubles points this year and it was a good start.”

All three doubles pairs jumped out with the lead in each of their sets, led by junior Mel Krywoj and sophomore Paula Barañano who grabbed the first set win 6-1 on court three. Senior Jessica Hinojosa and junior Alicia Herrero Linana nabbed the point for Baylor with a 6-2 set win.

The Bears swept singles play with Barañano taking her 15th career match with a 6-2, 6-1 win over GSU’s Mara Pop on court five. Both Krywoj and Herrero Linana picked up their first collegiate duel-match wins as they both served a year in residence to satisfy NCAA requirements last season.

Krywoj defeated GSU’s Eva Chivu 6-0, 6-3 on court one, grabbing the set on deuce when Chivu hit the ball into the net. The Argentina native had to work a little harder to earn the second set but was able to take the match point on 40-30 when Chivu once again swung onto the net.

“She’s a top of the line player,” Scrivano said of Krywoj. “She was one of the best juniors in the world and she has a lot of experience. She’s very comfortable on the tennis court. She knows how to play. She didn’t play her best game today, quite honestly. But she’s really good at finding a way to win when she’s not playing her best and that’s what great players do.”

Herrero Linana got the 6-3, 6-3 victory against Panthers senior Damira Muminovic, but struggled early in the first set before bouncing back for the win on court two. Scrivano stuck close between courts one and two for most of singles play, noting he wanted to be there to help his first-year players in case they ran into any obstacles. However, the head coach said they handled their matches well.

“Today’s about getting the nerves out,” Scrivano said. “This is their first experience in this environment. It’s unusual for a tennis player to have screaming, yelling — having a lot of fans here and the courts are close together. There’s a lot of distractions. Both Ali and Mel handled it very well. I’m proud of both of them.”

After Krywoj and Barañano grabbed the first two singles wins, junior Kris Sorokolet won 6-3, 6-1 against fiery GSU sophomore Andreea Stanescue. Baylor senior Angie Shakhraichuk fought off a comeback from freshman Aleksandra Stromova for a 6-2, 6-4 win on court three before Herrero Linana finished on court two. Hinojosa landed the final point, rallying to defeat GSU freshman Angel Carney 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 on court four.

Baylor continues its early home stretch with a double header against McNeese State at 11 a.m. and UTSA at 6 p.m. Monday at the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center.