Baylor women’s tennis opens season, dominating doubles play in H-E-B Invitational

Baylor women's tennis huddles up during the H-E-B Invitational. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Michael Haag | Sports Writer

Baylor women’s tennis competed in the four-day H-E-B Invitational in which multiple Bears made their debuts.

On the first day, four Bears made their Baylor debuts: junior transfer from the University of Alabama Isabella Harvison, and freshmen Olivia Malm, Ana Carmen Zamburek and Brooke Thompson.

Senior Mel Krywoj and junior transfer Isabella Harvison disposed of their University of Arizona opponents on court No. 1, winning 6-2. Both Krywoj and Harvison were ranked in the top 50 of the ITA Preseason Singles Rankings at No. 37 and No. 48, respectively.

Junior Paula Buranano and freshman Olivia Malm had to fight to a tiebreaker win. They trailed 6-5, and clinched the next game to tie things up at 6. In the tiebreaker, the duo would maintain control, edging the Wildcats 7-3.

The freshmen duo of Ana Carmen Zamburek and Brooke Thompson fell in their match, 6-1. Malm would also return for singles play, but lost to Arizona’s Kirsten Prelle 6-1, 6-4.

Head coach Joey Scrivano said he was proud of the competition and how the team has grown.

“Proud of the way the ladies competed today,” Scrivano said. “They’ve grown so much during our training sessions and doing the work off the court. However, the greatest growth can come from competition when it’s done with the right mindset.”

For day two, the Bears picked up six points playing at the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center due to the rain in Waco. The team won the doubles point for the second-straight day, this time against the University of Tulsa. Baylor then picked up six out of seven potential singles points versus Arizona.

Krywoj and Harvison continued their success, winning their second match as a duo with a 6-4 victory. Thompson and Carmen Zamburek bounced back, recording their first career doubles win, winning 6-3. Buranano and Malm dropped their match 6-2, moving to 1-1 overall as a duo.

Court No. 1 showcased a thriller between Krywoj and Arizona’s graduate student Salma Ziouti. Krywoj won the first set 6-1, but the two were locked in at 6-6 in the second set. The tiebreaker would be capped off by Krywoj 7-2, as she ended the match with an ace.

Scrivano was still proud of the team, saying that for it being some of their first college competitions, they handled it well. Scrivano said he is excited for the team’s potential.

“It was a great day of tennis,” Scrivano said. “We had a lot of athletes that this was their first college competition and they just handled it really, really well. We’re just really excited for this year’s team. They’re great kids [with] a lot of potential.”

Baylor would again win the doubles point on day three, beating Texas A&M University. Krywoj and Harvison remained undefeated as a duo, winning 7-5 on court No. 1. Buranano and Malm dominated in their match, winning 6-2.

Thompson and Carmen Zamburek were fighting from behind, forcing a tiebreaker, yet they fell 7-3.

Baylor would fight hard in singles action, as Krywoj, Harvison and Carmen Zamburek all battled back from being a set down to force a third-set 10-point tiebreaker.

However, Malm would have the lone win for Baylor in singles play with a 6-4, 7-5 win over the University of Arkansas’ senior Laura Rijkers, giving Malm her second-straight singles win.

Scrivano thought that the doubles play was stellar, but thought improvements could definitely be seen in singles play.

“I really like the way we played in doubles today. I felt like we were really aggressive and just getting a better grasp of our doubles system, so that was great,” Scrivano said. “In singles, I have to give credit to Arkansas. They were the hunter, and they came after us really hard. Now, we just have to learn from it and be curious why we didn’t perform as our best and just get better.”

It wasn’t until the final day of the invitational that Baylor dropped the doubles point, losing to Arkansas. The Bears would, however, defeat Texas A&M in singles action. On the third court, Thompson won 6-2, playing with Ziouti. On court one, Krywoj and Carmen Zamburek lost a close one, 6-4. Additionally, Baranano and Malm fell, 6-3, on court two.

For singles, Thompson had a 6-4, and 6-3 win against Texas A&M’s sophomore Elise Robbins. Malm won her match as well, in straight sets 6-2 and 7-5. Buranano in a comeback effort won her match by a score of 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-7). Carmen Zamburek recorded her first career singles victory with a 7-6 (3), 7-5 win over A&M senior Isa Di Laura.

Malm had three singles wins on the weekend, leading the Bears while Thompson recorded her second singles win on the weekend. Thompson, along with Malm and Buranano, each had multiple wins in singles. Carmen Zamburek achieved her first career singles victory.

After the tournament, Scrivano said he was happy with the way his team came together. He also liked the growth that he saw, using the invitational as a learning opportunity. Scrivano said he believes there is a lot to look forward to this season.

“I’m just really proud of the ladies. They bounced back really well,” Scrivano said. “Yesterday was an opportunity to learn, and today [they] just responded so well. Our freshmen are growing quite a bit, you can see. The entire team is doing great, the culture is really healthy and good things are coming our way. We’re excited about the upcoming events this fall.”

Up next, the Bears have the Southern Methodist University Invitational. This is a three-day tournament, spanning from Oct. 8 to Oct. 10 at the Styslinger/Altec Tennis Complex in Dallas.