Longhorns upset former National Champions

Logan Harvill

The No. 12 Longhorns remain undefeated after a successful weekend in California ended with an exciting finish. After dominating Mississippi State on Friday, Texas faced off against host No. 11 California on Saturday in a battle that came to a gripping 4-3 conclusion. The weekend’s success resulted in a bid to the ITA National Team Indoor Championship Tournament.

“(Saturday) was an excellent step in the maturation of a very young team,” Texas head coach Howard Joffe said. “The victory allows us entry into the national indoors where we will get experience against the top teams in the country.”

After a rocky start for the doubles point against Mississippi State, the Longhorns dominated in the singles sets, winning four matches.

“We started three freshmen and three sophomores, and I was in awe of the way they handled the early setback with the doubles point,” Joffe said. “The ladies didn’t play their best tennis, but they handled themselves superbly and can be very proud of the win.”

On Saturday, the Longhorns began the day against the defending ITA National Team Indoor champion, California, by once again losing the doubles point. But freshmen Fernanda Labrana and Marta Perez-Mur gave Texas a 2-1 lead after winning their respective matches.

Cal proceeded to fight back and even the match at 2-2, but Texas sophomore Bianca Turati returned the lead to the Longhorns after a commanding victory. Cal went on to even the match again 3-3 after a second singles win.

In the final match of the day, Turati — the recent winner of the Big 12 Women’s Tennis Player of the Week — clinched a tight win to send the Longhorns to Madison, Wisconsin, to participate in the ITA National Indoor Championship tournament.

“The ladies made up for their weaknesses as well as Cal’s considerable skill by fighting and being touch,” Joffe said. “All in all, it was a great weekend for Texas.”

The Longhorns (4–0) will play Illinois and Northwestern next weekend before participating in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship Feb. 9–12.