Longhorns earn Big 12 regular season title in Morgantown

Clark Dalton

The long road trip proved to be worthwhile for the Longhorns, who will return to Austin on the wings of a perfect season in conference play and a Big 12 regular season title.

Texas had one final regular season match before the Big 12 tournament. The Longhorns traveled to Morgantown, West Virginia, to face the Mountaineers, who entered the match still searching for their first conference victory.

But despite the talent difference between the two teams, Texas was mostly battling fatigue with Sunday’s match being the Longhorns’ fifth in the last 10 days.

“I think the main takeaway from this weekend is that the team needs rest and relaxation,” Texas head coach Howard Joffe said. “Traveling to so many different locations and playing under different circumstances certainly took some energy out of the team.”

However, Texas started on the right foot by winning the doubles point. Juniors Bianca and Anna Turati earned their eighth straight victory in doubles play.

Afterward, the tandem continued to further the Mountaineers’ woes with a victory by Bianca over Cristina Jordan in straight sets 6-0, 6-0.

Then, Anna who entered with wins in 14 consecutive matches, quickly defeated Sofia Duran to capture another win in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.

However, West Virginia kept its hopes alive behind Anastasia Bovolskaia, who defeated Bojana Markovic in three sets.

The comeback attempt was short lived, though, as Petra Granic toppled Paula Gotez in three sets 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Granic’s singles victory not only marked another tally in the win column but meant the regular season title was officially coming to Austin. This is the first time the Longhorns have garnered back-to-back conference regular season titles since 2002.

“This speak volumes to the players this team has especially in a conference that is deep like the Big 12,” Joffe said.

Although Texas stands atop the Big 12, it still faces one more test ahead in the upcoming conference tournament.

“As of right now, we are not focused on our performance too far into the NCAA tournament,” Joffe said. “However, come Thursday we will be sure to carry the same mentality.”