Texas turns in successful start to season, faces stiff competition down the road


Shereen Ayub

Junior Daniel Whitehead and the No. 19 Longhorns opened their season with a 5-2 win against SMU last weekend. The squad is young with no seniors on the roster but will still look to improve on last season’s finish where they lost in the second round of the NCAA championships.

Lauren Jette

Texas returned from the break early to hit the courts in a successful weekend tournament in Florida, and were able to come away with a victory in their first team match against SMU.

The Longhorns, ranked No. 19 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s preseason poll, opened the season with a 5-2 win over SMU on Sunday. Texas swept the doubles point with wins from the pairings of junior Alex Hilliard and freshman Soren Hess-Olesen; junior David Holiner and junior Daniel Whitehead; and freshman Jacoby Lewis and sophomore Sudanwa Sitaram.

Also posting singles victories for the team were Hess-Olesen, Whitehead, Sitaram and Lloyd Glasspool.

The Longhorns got in some warm-up matches prior to the season at the Key Biscayne Invitational the first weekend in January. On the opening day of the tournament, Texas claimed seven of nine singles matches, lead by Whitehead, ranked No. 112, and swept all four doubles matches for the day. The highlight of the day was newcomer to the team, Glasspool, recording a victory in his first match for the Longhorns. Glasspool, a freshman from England, joined the team this semester.

On the second day of the tournament, the Longhorns recorded six more singles wins and five double wins. Texas added three more singles victories on the final day of competition to finish the tournament with an impressive 24-6 combined record against players from Michigan, Virginia, Denver and LSU. Sitaram went undefeated on the weekend, posting three wins while only dropping eight games.

The early success is good for the team because the rest of the season is anything but a walk in the park as they will face nine opponents ranked in the top 30 of the ITA rankings. The Longhorns will go up against No. 2 Virginia and No. 20 North Carolina on their courts in the same weekend. Also looming for Texas is a home-court matchup with the No. 1 ranked team in the country, USC.

The Longhorns will also face some tough conference competition. Baylor has a No. 5 ranking, Texas A&M is ranked No. 11, Oklahoma is ranked No. 18 and boasts the fourth ranked player in the country, while Texas Tech holds the ranking of No. 22.

This year, Texas is a fairly young team without a single senior on its roster. The Longhorns have the same number of juniors as freshmen (four), and only boast one ranked player (Whitehead at no. 112).

Texas looks to improve upon last year’s results, in which they fell to A&M in the Big 12 tournament semifinals, and lost to Tulsa in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Longhorns finished last season ranked No. 16.

Printed on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 as: Texas starts year off with promise: sucessful early season showing bodes well for yoiung Horns squad