Horns host The Tribe


Zachary Strain

Junior Aeriel Ellis readies herself for a backhand return in a recent match. The No. 9 Longhorns have endured an up-and-down season and currently have a 5-3 record, but remain among the nation’s best teams.

Matt Warden

In their first home match of the year last week, the newly top-10-ranked Longhorns posted a dominant win over the No. 8-ranked Northwestern Wildcats. Although playing under the bright lights in what was also their first night match of the season, the ladies couldn’t be fazed.

“It’s great that UT has put in some fantastic lights for us, and it’s like broad daylight out there,” said head coach Patty Fendick-McCain. “It’s a lot of fun and it created a great atmosphere for us.”

The Longhorns have posted great performances in every match of the year, despite the aforementioned three losses. After two of their defeats came on the first two days of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, a win on the last day of competition proved this team can push through adversity. Their three losses have come against top-10 foes Georgia, Virginia and Miami.

“It is difficult to come back for a third day in a row, much less after two tough losses,” Fendick-McCain said. “All I can say is I am just really proud of the girls.”

Junior All-American Aeriel Ellis has moved up to become the No. 30-ranked player in the country as she is putting together a great year. Ellis has won either a singles or doubles match in every matchup of the season. Her and doubles partner Cierra Gaytan-Leach have provided key points for the Longhorns all season long.

Freshman Noel Scott has fit in nicely as a Longhorn, currently ranking as the No. 87 player in singles competition despite a close loss against Northwestern. Freshman Lina Padegimaite has also played well in her first season, winning six of her eight singles matches on the year.

With a big win and jolt of confidence under their belt, the team will look to keep rolling when they host unranked foe William and Mary.

Printed on Thursday, March 8, 2012 as: Ellis carries Longhorns forward as season progresses