Texas Men’s Tennis takes on top level competition over spring break

Lauren Jette

While students are counting down the minutes until they can hit the road to the beach for spring break, the Longhorns are gearing up for a full week of tough tennis matches at home.

Texas will take on the top-ranked team in the country next week, along with three other ranked teams before getting an 11-day break to rest up for conference play.

The first team up for the Longhorns is No. 31 San Diego, in a match that was postponed today due to rain. First serve is set for 1:30 p.m. at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center.

The next team Texas will take on is No. 32 Florida State on Saturday. The Seminoles (11-2) are coming off identical 6-1 defeats of Georgia Tech and Miami. Although the Seminoles don’t have any ranked players, they have played some strong tennis so far this season, with their only two losses being to ranked teams Baylor and Florida.

The Longhorns will then face their toughest opponent on the schedule in the defending national champions, USC. The Trojans are 14-0 on the season and are currently riding a 34-match win streak. Earlier this year the Trojans also won the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. USC is led by six ranked players, including the No. 2 and No. 5 ranked players. No. 3 Steve Johnson is the defending NCAA singles champ while No. 22 Ray Sarmiento is the Southwest Regional champion. The Longhorns will have their hands full as USC also boasts the No. 6 ranked doubles team. After this match, Texas will have played all of the top three teams in the nation, after losing 7-0 at No. 3 Virginia and 4-0 to No. 2 Ohio State in the ITA National Team Indoor Chammpionships in February.

Finally, the Longhorns will wrap up this tough stretch with a doubleheader at home on March 18 against No. 22 Tulsa and UT-Permian Basin. Tulsa has three players ranked inside the top 100, and the No. 3 doubles team. The Hurricanes have upset wins over Texas Tech and Texas A&M, both teams ranked inside the top 30, so Texas will need to be focused so they don’t fall into the same trap as their other conference teams against Tulsa.

Texas will return to the courts at the end of the month when they open conference play against No. 35 Oklahoma.