Texas bounces back, sweeping Illinois 6-1

Clark Dalton

After suffering its first loss at home over the weekend, Texas hosted a floundering Illinois team.

Illinois lost three of its last four matches entering Tuesday’s battle with the Longhorns, giving both sides added momentum.

“It’s not that we weren’t playing well, but we simply lacked match toughness,” Joffe said. “Our schedule up to this point didn’t have that two-match set we needed to gain an understanding of the tougher portion of our schedule.”

From the onset, Illinois capitalized on the troubles that have plagued Texas throughout the season. Sasha Belaya and Jaclyn Switkes defeated Petra Granic and Bojana Markovic 6-0. The pair of Dani Pedraza Novak and Emilee Duong then countered a victory from Anna and Bianca Turati by dispatching Fernanda Labraña and Katie Poluta 6-3.

However, the Longhorns started to find their footing in singles by utilizing the depth which has defined their singles play.

Granic ignited the comeback through her polished play, which has launched her to a 4–0 record this spring. Granic overwhelmed Mia Rabinowitz in straight sets, 6-0 and 6-4, tying the match at 1-1 overall.

Poluta soon followed, thwarting Pedraza Novak, 6-0, 6-4. Poluta raised her record to 7–1 in dual match singles play, giving Texas a 2-1 lead on the day.

After a tough outing against Pepperdine, Bianca Turati went into the zone against dominating Asuka Kawai. Turati dismantled the renowned Kawai, 6-3, 6-2, which grew the lead even further, causing the air to come out of the balloon for Illinois.

Consequently, Anna Turati sealed a Texas victory by securing the fourth point in a 6-0, 6-4 match against Jaclyn Switkes. Anna’s victory extended a hot streak, now consisting of six consecutive wins this spring for the junior.

“Anna has absolutely began to find herself this spring,” Joffe said. “It started against Stanford when she came from behind and won. Since then, she’s done a good job of keeping her composure, which is helping her play under duress. This is why we’ve seen this streak.”

The snowball kept rolling downhill for the Illini as Markovic added to the ambush in singles. Markovic beat Belaya, 6-4, 6-4, earning the fifth victory in straight sets for the Longhorns.

Labraña completed the sweep, beating Duong, 6-4, 3-6, 1-0. Texas now posts a team record of 7–3 heading into conference play.

“The Pepperdine match was good for us since it got us used to the upcoming circuit,” Joffe said. “You can’t prepare completely, but I’m confident in the team’s ability in this upcoming stretch.”

The Longhorns will take the court next Friday against Kansas State at 3 p.m.