Longhorns regroup after doubles play and run off four singles wins to earn a berth in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
AUSTIN, Texas – No. 11 Texas (2-0) yielded the doubles point but overpowered No. 34 Utah in doubles play, as the Longhorns scored a 4-1 win Sunday in the finalmatch of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend event. The win gives Texas a berth in the annual ITA National Team Indoor Championship at The University of Virginia (Feb. 8-11).
Utah won two of three doubles matches to take the doubles point. The Utes’ 23rd-ranked tandem of Tereza Bekerova and Paige Miles led off with an 8-2 win over UT’s Breaunna Addison and Noel Scott at first doubles. The Longhorns’ Elizabeth Begley and Aeriel Ellis responded and posted an 8-3 win over Utah’s Elena Najera-Salas and Natasha Smith at the second slot, leaving the third doubles match to decide the doubles point.
At five-all, Utah’s Callie Craig and Sarah Pham broke the serve of UT’s Lina Padegimaite and Annat Rabinovich to take a 6-5 lead at No. 3 doubles. The Utah tandem held serve the rest of the way and claimed an 8-6 win that sealed the doubles point for the Utes.
Texas, however, struck quickly to even the tally and ultimately claim the team victory. Begley blanked Utah’s Lucia Kovarcikova in the first set at fourth singles and went on to claim a 6-0, 6-2 victory to even the match at one. Tied at three in the opening set at fifth singles, UT’s Padegimaite took the final three games off of Utah’s Miles to take the first set, 6-3. Padegimaite yielded nothing further and took the second set, 6-0 to stake Texas to a 2-0 lead.
Addison held a 5-2 opening-set lead on Utah’s 103rd-ranked Pham at second singles before Pham closed to within 5-4. But, Addison broke Pham in the ensuing game to claim the set, 6-4. Addison overpowered Pham and took the second set, 6-0 to improve to 5-0 in her young Texas career and give the Horns a 3-1 lead.
Moments later, Scottprovided the final point to close out the victory. The Californian trailed Utah’s 123rd-ranked Craig 4-1 in the first set at third singles before taking the next three games and evening the set at four. Scott broke Craig’s serve for a 5-4 lead and held serve to close out the first set. Scott opened the second set by breaking Craig once more, and she powered her way to a 6-2 win to provide the match-clinching point for the Longhorns. The remaining two matches were suspended.
Wichita State defeated Stephen F. Austin by a 4-2 count in the day’s consolation round match. UT earned its place in the championship round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend event with its win Saturday over Wichita State.
Texas returns to the ITA National Team Indoors next month after posting a 1-2 mark in the event lastseason. The Horns closed the 2012 event by defeating Clemson in consolation play.
No. 11 Texas 4, No. 34 Utah 1
ITA Kick-Off Weekend
Penick-Allison Tennis Center – Austin, Texas
Doubles – Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3,
1 #23 Tereza Bekerova/Paige Miles (Utah) def. Breaunna Addison/Noel Scott (Texas) – 8-2
2 Elizabeth Begley/Aeriel Ellis (Texas) def. Elena Najera-Salas/Natasha Smith (Utah) – 8-3
3 Callie Craig/Sarah Pham (Utah) def. Lina Padegimaite/Annat Rabinovich (Texas)
Singles – Order of Finish: 4, 5, 2, 3
1 Aeriel Ellis (Texas) vs. #72 Tereza Bekerova (Utah) – 6-0, 5-5, susp.
2 Breaunna Addison (Texas) def. #103 Sarah Pham (Utah) – 6-4, 6-0
3 #79 Noel Scott (Texas) def. #123 Callie Craig (Utah) – 6-4, 6-2
4 Elizabeth Begley (Texas) def. Lucia Kovarcikova (Utah) – 6-0, 6-2
5 Lina Padegimaite (Texas) def. Paige Miles (Utah) – 6-3, 6-0
6 Lana Groenvynck (Texas) vs. Natasha Smith (Utah) – 6-7, 0-1, susp.
Texas head coach Patty Fendick-McCain
On the slow start to the match: We started off a little slowly with the doubles. I think sitting around a lot yesterday (due to weather) maybe had an impact on how quickly we were ready to start off. But we’re going to have a few things to chat about with the doubles and then we will move forward next week with some of that.
On singles play: As far as singles went, I thought it went exactly as we scripted it. At No. 1, 2, and 3, we were really tough up top. We’ve probably got the top top-three players in the country up at No. 1, 2, and 3. We’re a little slim on a few sides but I think we’re going to see that change. [Elizabeth] Begley’s down at No. 4 and she’s (tough as) nails as always. Lina [Padegimaite] is finding her form and our freshman Lana Groenvynck at No. 6 is grinding away. So, I’m happy with the result. The Utes are a tough team. They snuck a few (wins) in on Texas Tech last year so we were definitely concerned about them. I thought we stood up well to the challenge today.
On sophomore Noel Scott clinching the win at No. 3 singles: Well, Noel wasn’t feeling too well yesterday so it was nice to see her get into the lineup today and get a match under her belt. Once she got the taste of doubles out of her mouth she did just fine and righted the ship and played well. She clinched the match for us, so that was really nice for her.
On preparing for the ITA National Team Indoors: We need to get a little rest now. It’s been a lot of tennis the past two weekends. We’ll take a breather and talk about a few things we need to work on.
Junior Elizabeth Begley
On her win: I thought everyone came back really nicely after losing the doubles point. Every one of us was focused on getting a singles point after the doubles.
On the impact of the wins this weekend: It sets us up for the rest of the season. We’ll continue to be ranked in the top 16, but it helps so much more to go to the National Team Indoors with a pair of wins.