Longhorns fall to Kansas in Big 12 Tournament final

Clark Dalton

After already claiming the Big 12 regular season title, the Longhorns set out to run the gauntlet again in the Big 12 Tournament.

Traveling to Lawrence, Kansas, Texas was riding heading into the tournament after being awarded the No. 1 seed.

Texas got off to a strong start Friday against Baylor, toppling the Bears 4-1.

“We played Baylor a couple of weeks ago without their regular starters,” Texas head coach Howard Joffe said. “I think that overall, I was very pleased with our team today because Baylor with all of their players are a very formidable opponent.”

The Longhorns would continue to increase the depth between them and the field as they rattled off a dominant performance against Texas Tech in the following round.

Saturday’s match played to a similar beat as the regular season meeting between the two teams, with the Longhorns controlling the match from start to finish, eventually ending in a 4-0 sweep.

“I definitely think that relative to our last four or five matches, today was maybe our best performance, so that was very encouraging,” Joffe said. “It also doesn’t hurt that we won the match. It was definitely a good performance, something that we needed because we will need it tomorrow.”

Although the Longhorns had accumulated the best record in the conference, they didn’t have the advantage of hosting the tournament. That right was reserved by Kansas, a team which almost defeated the Longhorns in Austin at the beginning of the season.

That would just happen to be the team which Texas was matched up against in the tournament final.

The match didn’t favor the Longhorns from the onset as they fell into a hole, losing the doubles point.

It appeared that a spark was ignited when junior Petra Granic earned a victory in straight sets against Kansas’ Ploburng Plipuech 6-1, 6-3.

However, Texas couldn’t find the same success in singles play that had defined its 2019 campaign.

The deficit would continue to increase as sophomores Bojana Markovic and Fernanda Labrana lost at the No. 4 and No. 5 line. This created a difficult situation since Texas already trailed 3-1 and would need to stage an epic comeback just to stay in contention.

Junior Anna Turati kept fighting, winning her 17th consecutive victory over Janet Koch in straight sets 6-2, 6-3.

Despite Texas best efforts, though the Jayhawks would emerge as the victor on Sunday as Maria Toran Ribas upset Katie Poluta in three sets 6-2, 3-6, 4-6.

Now with a Big 12 Tournament loss to swallow, the Longhorns will look ahead to their next opportunity in the NCAA Tournament just two weeks from now.