The Texas Tennis Center was at capacity Friday as the No. 3 men's team and the No. 6 women’s team simultaneously took on opponents. The men's team bounced back following a loss last week against No. 9 NC State with a win against an inconsistent Tulane squad, while the women’s team opened up conference play with a victory against a West Virginia squad that had lost just one game previously.
“You’ve got to be ready for everybody,” Texas men’s head coach Bruce Berque said. “Especially in this format in college, crazy things happen. So you can't take anything for granted.”
Despite the sun coming down and temperatures decreasing as the men’s match against Tulane began, the Longhorns’ racquets stayed hot.
The Longhorns were able to dispatch Tulane quickly in doubles. The No. 9 doubles team of seniors Christian Sigsgaard and Yuya Ito defeated Tulane juniors Hamish Stewart and Akos Kotorman, followed by another Longhorn victory by the freshman duo of Jacob Bullard and Elliot Spizzirri against the Green Wave’s redshirt freshman Benji Jacobson and senior Ewan Moore.
“Christian and Yuya both played well,” Berque said. “They both had really positive presences. I told Yuya that it looked like he was playing in an NCAA Championship match.”
With the doubles point secured, Texas didn’t look back. They quickly secured the victory with singles wins by Ito, sophomore Chih Chi Huang and freshman Siem Woldeab. Woldeab delivered the finishing blow with a victory over Tulane senior Luis Erlenbusch.
The dramatics from Friday’s match came after the game had already been clinched. Singles matches from Spizzirri and No. 6 Sigsgaard both required tie-breakers. Spizzirri was able to outlast his opponent, Tulane senior Dane Esses, but the Longhorns couldn't walk away completely unscathed as Sigsgaard fell to No. 72 Tulane senior Ewan Moore after two tie-breaker sets.
Over on the south courts, the No. 6 women’s team took on West Virginia. The first Big 12 Conference match of the season started the Longhorns off with a 1–0 record.
“Overall, the ladies are playing quite well, and we'll obviously look forward to having Anna back in the lineup,” Texas women’s head coach Howard Joffe said. “And (we’re) just definitely excited to get going deeper into the conference season.”
Despite being the conference opener, No. 4 senior Anna Turati did not participate in today’s match.
“The NCAA rules allow for 25 competencies in a year, and Anna is a victim of our own success,” Joffe said. “In the fall, she managed to get an extra tournament, so we needed one match of the dual matches to hold her out so that she doesn't surpass 25 dates when the year is done.”
This was also a big match for freshman Adri Nagy, who played the first Big 12 match of her college career.
“I'm feeling pretty good,” Nagy said. “I think I played quite good. Not my best performance, but I think my overall performance was pretty good.”
Both teams are back in action at the Texas Tennis Center on Sunday. The men will have a doubleheader against Tulsa at 11 a.m. and Rice at 3:30 p.m. The women take on No. 48 Iowa State at 12 p.m.