Texas captures 5-2 victory over Oklahoma State

Clark Dalton

Texas capped off its Oklahoma road trip on Sunday by moving to 4–0 in conference play against one of the best teams in the nation in Oklahoma State.

The match would determine the fate of the Big 12 since the Cowgirls and Longhorns stood at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Oklahoma State entered the match ranked ninth in the country, but all five of its losses had been at the hands of top 25 opponents, making the Cowgirls a formidable challenge for the visiting Longhorns.

“We don’t want to prognosticate because there are nine other teams in the conference and doing that would be silly,” Texas head coach Howard Joffe said.

The Longhorns got off to a fast start, winning another doubles point. Fernanda Labraña and Bojana Markovic defeated Tamara Arnold and Bunyawi Thamchaiwat, climbing back from a 2-1 deficit to win the game 6-4. Then, Anna and Bianca Turati squeaked past Marina Guinart and Katarina Stresnakova, winning the tiebreaker 8-6.

The Cowgirls didn’t lie down, though, fighting back in singles play. Guinart darted past Labraña in straight sets 2-6, 6-0.

The Oklahoma State resurgence started to gather more steam when the Cowgirls took the lead at the number five singles spot. Markovic fell to Sofia Blanco in straight sets as well, 3-6, 3-6.

“Having five to six matches in the last 12 days has given us a sense of assurance and toughness,” Joffe said.

Nevertheless, Texas refused to crumble amid a tricky match, mounting a rally of its own.

Katie Poluta displayed the importance of experience breaking down Tamara Arnold in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2. Poluta tied the match and fortified an excellent showing.

Bianca grabbed the lead back in the fifth with a triumph over a highly ranked opponent. She battled through the first set 6-4, ultimately winning the second set 6-2. Texas was then just one point away from taking the top spot.

Oklahoma State didn’t go down without a fight, posting two of the most grueling games Petra Granic and Anna faced this year.

Anna, squared off against Lisa Marie Rioux, who fell in the first set 6-4. The second set proved to be a greater challenge as Rioux kept clawing back, ultimately resulting in a 6-6 tie. Anna didn’t let the game slip away, though, sealing the tiebreaker 7-6.

Granic added the final touch in a strong three-set game. She came back from 5-4 in the third set en route to a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 win.

“Petra and Anna’s ability to come back strengthens their confidence which will serve the team well,” Joffe said.