By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
Baylor women’s tennis will open its spring season with a double-header on Saturday. The Bears will face the University of Houston at noon, followed by a 6 p.m. match against the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley at the Hurd Tennis Center.
Following Saturday’s matches, the Bears have another doubleheader on Monday against Rice University and DePaul University.
UTRGV will also be having its season opener on Saturday with its contest against the Bears. Houston dropped its season opener 7-0 to Texas A&M University on Tuesday.
Senior Paula Barañano is now stepping into a leadership role following the departures of Alicia Herrero-Linana and Mel Krywoj. Barañano believes “the team is ready” and the preparation will pay off.
“We’ve been working hard this fall, these past three weeks,” Barañano said. “We’ve been working at the gym [and] on the court, so we feel ready. Very happy to play at home in these four matches. So yeah, we are going to go out there, have fun and give you our best.”
Teams often strive to have an identity for an upcoming season, but head coach Joey Scrivano said that’s still in the air as of right now. Scrivano said he will use the first couple of weeks to feel out and see what this group is made of.
“Ultimately, I don’t know what the identity of the team is right now,” Scrivano said. “We’re going to find out. You don’t know until you get in the heat of the battle and you go through some adversity. I am confident that these kids will respond really well this year.”
Scrivano explained the team is looking for leaders to step up on the relatively young squad. He said the team is not lacking in talent, but that the dynamic and chemistry is going to be a work in progress.
“These kids can play, it’s just that the other stuff gets in the way of that,” Scrivano said. “If we can just stay mindful, put one foot in front of the other, forget the outcome, the results are going to be really good.”
Sophomore Brooke Thompson said she and the team are really excited to kick things off for the 2023 season. Thompson said since returning from winter break, they have been eager to get back out on the court.
“I think we’re all just wanting to really compete hard, give our 110% on the court and just fight for each other as a team and I think we’re going to do that and just play with confidence to do well,” Thompson said.
Scrivano said the team’s focus is on the little things, which can make or break a game, match or season.
“I think the players know our expectations are just things that they can control,” Scrivano said. “Things like effort and attitude and playing within the system and just being a good teammate.”