Texas easily downs Florida State, 4-1, at home

Clark Dalton

Down one set and facing elimination after an 0-2 start in the second, Anna Turati needed stellar play to close out a Texas win.

As the day drew to a close, Turati’s match was the final one Texas needed to seal a victory over the ranked Seminoles. The junior grimaced after opponent Ana Oparenovic began to run away with the second set.

While Turati’s match began heating up, so did the temperature early Friday afternoon as the Longhorns eventually bested the No. 17 Florida State, 4-1, at the Sheffield Family Court in Austin.

The No. 16 Longhorns entered the day looking to earn another victory against the Seminoles, who played 13 games prior to the matchup with Texas, giving them a slight edge in terms of experience.

“Coming into today I was worried about the number of games Florida State had played,” Texas head coach Howard Joffe said. “Their 11–2 record also provided concern since they added talent along with experience.”  

Additionally, Texas had not played since its 6-1 victory against Rice on Feb. 24. Florida State took advantage of the rust, claiming the doubles point at the No. 1 spot with Emmanuelle Salas and Ana Oparenovic defeating Fernanda Labraña and Bojana Markovic. Petra Hule and Andrea Garcia claimed a 6-3 victory over Petra Granic and Katie Poluta as well.

However, the Longhorns didn’t coil under the early pressure. Facing an early deficit, the Longhorns surged in dual match singles play.

The charge commenced with sophomore Bojana Markovic defeating Nandini Das, 6-2, in the first set and 6-3 in the second set. The upswing in momentum was coupled by sophomore Fernanda Labraña’s strong play.

Labraña improved to 6–2 in singles play and gave Texas its first lead of the day, overcoming her opposition, Ariana Rahmanparast, 6-3, in the first set. Labraña then thwarted a comeback attempt in the second set and won, 6-4.

With the strong Texas resurgence, the Seminoles’ early momentum began to crumble. Senior Katie Poluta continued her spotless play in singles, displaying her calm demeanor throughout all three sets. The composure allowed Poluta to build the lead as she bested Andrea Garcia, 6-3 in both the first and third sets.

“I think I just want to make the most of every opportunity since it’s my last semester to give an opportunity to prove myself,” Poluta said.

The deciding blow would be delivered by Turati, though, as she battled fatigue against Oparenovic.

The unranked Oparenovic caught Turati with a surprising outburst in the first set, defeating her, 6-1. Then, the 2-0 start to the second presented an uphill challenge for Turati.

But Turati came roaring back from there, winning the second set, 6-3. During the third set, she started to dominate, winning her first three games easily. Opraenovic tried to regain control, but it was too late. Turati grabbed the Texas win in the third set, 6-2

“The ability to dominate in singles is a testament to the strength of this team.” Joffe said

Matches such as Friday’s victory will serve the Longhorns well in the long run as they are now 6–2 on the season. The win over ranked opponent Florida State only increases Texas’ legitimacy as a contender for an NCAA Championship this season.

“I think a win like this builds confidence since the team played well and came back,” Poluta said.