Texas advances to Round of 32 after win over LIU Brooklyn

Clark Dalton

After a thunderstorm rolled through Austin on Friday evening, the skies cleared in time for the  Longhorns to begin their quest for an NCAA Championship.

Texas came thundering into the tournament with an 18–4 record and a Big 12 regular season title — enough to reward the Longhorns with the ninth overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and home-court advantage through the first two rounds.

Playing in front of a home crowd definitely gave an early advantage to Texas, which hosted an LIU Brooklyn team which had played only one top-50 opponent since March.

Texas didn’t want to give LIU Brooklyn any semblance of hope, especially in the NCAA Tournament where any mishap can end a season. In Saturday’s match, fortune favored the Longhorns.

Petra Granic and Katie Poluta charged out of the gates in doubles play by blasting Malin Leysen and Jennifer Gogova 6-0. Then, Anna and Bianca Turati secured the first point against Anna Grigoryan and Ana Leonte for their 11th consecutive victory.

“We played really well,” Poluta said in an interview with Texas Sports. “I think Petra and I came out really aggressive in doubles.”

The strong play early on would continue to power the Longhorns in singles play. At the midpoint, Texas had won the first set in all six of their singles matches.

After the slow start, the Blackbirds looked desperately overpowered.

Granic earned the second point of the day against Sasha Bollweg 6-0, 6-0. The junior from Split, Croatia, has now recorded 14 victories on the season in straight sets.

Anna Turati would help Texas inch closer to victory and continue her nearly unstoppable play. She has now won 18 straight matches after defeating Jessica Brzozowska 6-0, 6-0.

Poluta closed the day out with a third straight sweep 6-0, 6-0 against Jennifer Gogova.

“Our singles play went really well. We got off to a good start,” Poluta said. “I think the girls are feeling really good going into tomorrow.”

Saturday’s opening victory displayed the consistency of Texas. Head coach Howard Joffe has guided the Longhorns to the Round of 32 every year since his arrival in 2015.

The Longhorns have no time to celebrate or prepare as they face in-state rival Texas A&M on Saturday.