By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer
The No. 8-ranked Baylor women’s tennis team secured a spot in the Big 12 Championship semifinals on Saturday with a tough 4-1 win over arch-rivals TCU Friday afternoon at the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center. Despite missing two of their six starters, Baylor was able to push through against the resilient Horned Frogs.
The Bears were able to go up 1-0 on TCU early, securing the doubles point despite being down early in each of the three sets. TCU’s Isabel Pascual and Mercedes Aristegui dominated to win on court two over Baylor’s Jessica Hinojosa and Kris Sorokolet, but Baylor battled back to win on court one, as familiar duo Mel Krywoj and Angie Shakraichuck completed a heroic comeback to win their doubles match, 6-4. Audrey Boch-Collins and Alicia Herrero Linana clinched the double’s point in similar fashion, also winning 6-4.
“TCU is a really good team,” Herrero Linana said. “We know they have really ambitious players, and they were giving their best on the court. I feel like we fell. They were there, they were present, they were coming for us. But I think our reaction was so positive. We wanted a challenge today and we got it.”
To open singles play, Sorokolet answered the challenge and made quick work of Stevie Kennedy, 6-3, 6-0, to put Baylor one step closer to winning the match. TCU answered immediately. Marie Norris put the Horned Frogs on the board, winning 6-4, 6-0 over Hinojosa, ending what was a tough day for the senior.
With the score at 2-1 in favor of Baylor, the Bears kicked it into gear. Shakraichuck knocked out TCU’s No. 2 Aristegui 6-4, 6-4 to give Baylor its third point. Shortly thereafter, Herrero Linana clinched the Baylor win, coming back from a disappointing first set to win her match 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 over Tate Schroeder.
“This team, as I’ve said in the past, is so mentally tough,” Baylor head coach Joey Scrivano said. “They are really aware of what kind of state they have to be in to respond to this type of challenge and they did what they’ve been doing all year, which is lining up, accepting the challenge and just competing really hard.”
Baylor will now take on No. 6 Iowa State on Saturday as they continue their quest to win a ninth Big 12 Championship title, its first since 2015. Weather permitting, the Bears will play at noon against the Cyclones at the Hurd Tennis Center.