Preseason Big 12 favorite Longhorns set to take on Rice

Chris Caraveo

Big 12 play is just two weeks away and the Longhorns are already early favorites to win the conference.

All nine coaches from the other Big 12 schools gave Texas, the reigning Big 12 Champions, their first-place votes for preseason favorite. Baylor received one first place vote from Longhorns coach Patty Fendick-McCain.

Despite the early billing, the Longhorns dropped 15 spots to No. 29 in the team standings. However, Aerial Ellis, No. 28 singles player, and Breaunna Addison, No. 35, moved up in the singles rankings.

Texas will need a strong showing against visiting Rice to validate its selection as conference favorites.

Rice brings two ranked players in singles, No. 71 Natalie Beazant and No. 80 Dominique Harmath.

Beazant will be a challenge for whoever faces her. The sophomore is coming off of a freshman campaign filled with accolades. She claimed Conference USA Player and Freshman of the Year honors, as well as conference first team honors in singles and doubles play.

Texas and Rice start dual match play at the Penick-Allison Center Saturday at noon.