Scrivano, No. 26 Baylor WTEN seeks ultimate glory, embraces postseason

After earning a spot in the NCAA Championship, No. 26 Baylor women's tennis has its eyes set on a national championship. Brittany Tankersley | Photo Editor

By Michael Haag | Sports Writer

Now having a punched ticket to the NCAA Championship, Baylor women’s tennis head coach Joey Scrivano is locked in with his eyes on the prize. It’s do-or-die time, and Scrivano lives for it.

“It’s the playoffs, and in the playoffs everything gets tougher, the margins get smaller and that’s the type of coaching that I really enjoy,” Scrivano said. “I want to be in the playoffs, I want to play against these tough teams.”

The road for No. 26 Baylor is far from easy, as it’s pitted against the University of Washington for a first-round matchup. The four-team block will run through College Station, with No. 7-seed Texas A&M University hosting the first two rounds.

As the Bears (15-8) gear up for the Huskies (14-11), Scrivano is looking to “focus on the things that we can control.” To him, doing that and having a proper mindset gives his group all they need to make a deep run.

“When you’re coaching young people, they get distracted very easily and get caught up in the wrong things sometimes,” Scrivano said. “Right now, we just have to get our minds right, be present and we can beat any team in the country, but we’re going to have to show up and really be where our feet are.”

Easier said than done.

Trying to manage a roster of student athletes every year is one of the most difficult things the six-time Big 12 Coach of the Year has had to do. But he believes the work they’ve done all season can propel them to success.

“It’s the hardest thing you’re going to do as a coach, just to get 10 people to be on the same page, it’s not easy,” Scrivano said. “You just work at it systematically and hope by now that the team gets it [and] that if they focus on the right things, then great things can come from that.”

Regarding what’s led the team to this point, Scrivano said it’s how competitive his squad is. Now under a national scope and with the pressure cranked up, the team will have to “tap into that” competitiveness in order to advance.

“Well, there’s been times this season that they’ve really come alive, performed and shown what great competitors they are. They’re just going to have to tap into that,” Scrivano said. “At this stage of the season you’re on the biggest stage. You have to be a performer and our players know what that means and they’re going to do that.”

The match is expected to start at 10 a.m. on Friday at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. Whoever advances will face the winner of the Aggies (30-1) and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (22-3) at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Amid high expectations from the start, Scrivano isn’t phased about losing out on goals like a Big 12 Championship or a certain win mark. The 64-team field is set and the ultimate prize is still up for grabs: A national championship.

“Well, you never go into the season with small goals,” Scrivano said. “You go after big goals and sometimes you fall short. But ultimately, we still have our biggest goal ahead of us and that’s what we’re focused on.”