By AnnaGrace Hale | Sports Writer
After clinching a close 4-3 victory over University of Kansas on Sunday, No. 21 Baylor women’s tennis seeks another win at home against No. 4 University of Texas this Saturday. The two teams met earlier this season in a non-conference game where the Longhorns took the match 4-2.
Doubles play will prove to be important in this upcoming match. During the competition in February, the Bears (15-6, 6-2 Big 12) forced the Longhorns (16-4, 7-1 Big 12) to drop their first-ever doubles point of the spring.
However, since then Texas has done some doubles remodeling. Although they hold the same players, the pairings are different, which seems to have been in Texas’ favor. This change is something the Longhorns head coach Howard Joffe has particularly been focusing on.
“At this stage of the season, I think it is less the fundamental stuff and more the odds and ends, working on different positions in the doubles,” Joffe said in an interview via Texas women’s tennis Twitter. “The doubles is a thing we will work on pretty hard.”
While Texas has found more success since playing Baylor in February regarding doubles points, Baylor still has the No. 3 pairing of seniors Alicia Herrero Linana and Mel Krywoj. Although their doubles match went unfinished on Sunday against Kansas, speaking to the depth of Baylor’s doubles duos, these two players have found much success this season, going 21-4 and continuing to climb in national rankings. Part of this may be attributed to their chemistry.
“I think the key to our doubles — for us to be a good team — I think our first goal is to enjoy it,” Linana said. “It is so important for us to have fun together inside the court.”
Hopefully Krywoj and Linana will have fun and find success with a win as they celebrate their senior day on Saturday. This will be their final home conference match at the Hurd Tennis Center.
Additionally, for Baylor to secure a victory, singles play will have to be on top of it. Texas holds No. 3 Peyton Stearns as well as this week’s Big 12 Women’s Tennis Player of the Week Kylie Collins. Both players snatched points in Texas’ 4-0 sweep against Kansas last weekend.
At the conclusion of the previous match against Texas, head coach Joey Scrivano said the team “competed hard and responded with a lot of character.” He emphasized the energy that needed to be put into preparing for upcoming matches.
After a few months of preparation, Baylor takes on Texas once again, but this time looking for a different result. The match will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Hurd Tennis Center.