Longhorns begin new year on high note

Wes Maulsby

Texas has been pretty busy during the last couple of weeks.

Prior to the beginning of the new season, the Longhorns competed in their last tournament of non-team competition. From Jan. 7-9, Texas dominated the Key Biscayne Invitational in Southern Florida. Texas swept the doubles matches on the first and third days, with two more victories coming on day two to give them a 10-2 doubles record for the tournament. Their doubles dominance was only matched by their overwhelming performance in singles competition. Texas registered a 23-3 record in singles play, sweeping all the singles matches in the final two days.

Tabbed No. 5 in the 2011 preseason polls, the Longhorns have been defending their ranking since team competition began earlier this month. Texas cruised to a 5-2 victory against California on Jan. 15 thanks to doubles wins by Ed Corrie and Jean Andersen, who are the 5th-ranked doubles pair in the nation, and Vasko Mladenov and Ben Chen in a tie-breaker match. Texas also won four singles matches against the Bears with points from Jean Andersen, Kellen Damico, Ben Chen and Vasko Mladenov.

“This was a great way to start the year,” said Texas assistant coach Ricardo Rubio.

The Longhorns followed up with an impressive 6-1 win against Tulsa in Oklahoma. Texas claimed the doubles point, and won five of the singles matches on Sunday.

Texas travels to Michigan this Saturday and still has both top-ranked Virginia and defending national champions USC on its non-conference schedule. After that, it’s on to the Big 12, which has four teams in the top 20.

“We don’t want to play teams where we know we’re going to win the match,” said Texas head coach Michael Center. “We want to play tough matches every time out.”