Texas looks to rebound against Texas Tech

Justin Martinez

Texas kept playing long after the fans at Caswell Tennis Center emptied the stadium.

The No. 8 Longhorns (18–6) suffered one of their worst losses of the season on Wednesday, getting blown out at home in a 4-1 loss to No. 4 Baylor.

Players looked disheveled after the loss, burying their heads into their shirts as head coach Michael Center delivered a 20-minute tongue lashing. The players then took to the courts once more to work on their game.

The Bears outshined Texas in every way, sweeping them in doubles play and winning three of the first four singles matches. Baylor’s Johannes Schretter delivered the final blow, defeating freshman Yuya Ito 6-4, 1-6, 6-0 to give his team the victory.

“We knew going in that there were going to be some tough spots,” Center said. “We’ve come back this year against some good teams, but we just couldn’t seem to gain any momentum.”

The Longhorns strung together a five-game winning streak in March, defeating three top-20 opponents during the run. But it’s been a different story as of late. The loss to Baylor is Texas’ second consecutive defeat after coming up short 4-2 against  Oklahoma State during a road match on April 2.

“It all starts with playing better in the beginning of matches,” Center said. “We’re also not getting points out of the top of our lineup, and we need those points if we want a chance in these games.”

Texas looks to shake off the rough outing with a match on Saturday against No. 44 Texas Tech at Caswell. The Red Raiders hold wins against No. 34 Memphis and Indiana, a feat largely attributed to their doubles play. Texas Tech’s duo of Bjorn Thompson and Connor Curry are ranked No. 12 in the nation.

This plays directly into a weakness that has plagued the Longhorns all season. Texas is 13–11 in doubles play and without a duo in the top 50.

“We’ve just been putting ourselves behind the eight ball in doubles play,” Center said. “We can’t play that way and expect to win.”

Conference play is getting the best of Texas so far. The Longhorns are 1–2 in the Big 12, leaving little room for error if they want to compete for a conference title. They hope to turn the page and get back on track against Texas Tech.

“The Big 12 is the best conference in the country and everybody knows it,” Center said. “We know that it’s always going to be hard to win these matches, but we’ll be ready come Saturday.”

First serve against Texas Tech is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday at Caswell Tennis Center.