Sun shines bright in Longhorns’ tennis win

Freshman Lulu Sun received an early birthday present this week after her absolutely dominant performance this past Sunday in Manhattan, Kansas. On Friday in Lubbock, Texas, however, Sun received a new kind of challenge.

Sun and her doubles partner, fellow freshman Kylie Collins, came into their match against Texas Tech with an impressive 13–2 overall doubles record and a 5–1 mark in Big 12 matches. Sun’s efforts against Kansas State earned her the Big 12 Conference’s Women’s Tennis Player of the Week honors. Sun’s achievement puts her in good company along with three other uber talented Longhorns such as Anna Turati, Peyton Stearns, and of course, Sun’s doubles partner, Kylie Collins.

But standing at doubles rank No. 14, Sun and Collins faced a tougher test against the Red Raiders. Ready for the challenge, Texas Tech freshman-junior doubles pair Lisa Mays and Kaitlin Staines managed to match and even surpass the speed Sun and Collins demonstrated on the court for much of the match.

The Red Raiders duo rarely allowed a ball to pass by them and sent many of Sun and Collins’ returns right back over the net. Most likely the fastest paced match of the day, both teams’ reflexes were put to the test, as a good portion of the match was played at the net.

With no shortage of back and forth volleys, Collins and Sun were forced to react rather than control the match as they usually did. Unable to keep up with their quick opponents, Sun and Collins fell to the Raiders 6-4 in the first set.

Faced with rare adversity, Sun returned to her usual dominant form in her singles match on court No. 2. Sun lined up against Staines for a second time and took a commanding 4-0 lead in the first set.

Sun hardly made any mistakes, blasting several serves and returns too powerful for Staines to even make contact with. Having apparently exhausted her opponent, Sun’s first set closed 6-2 with Staines’ return finding the net.

After a brief break between sets, Sun strutted back onto the court and got into her competitive stance before her opponent even began to make her way to the line. She immediately brought the heat with a lightspeed serve that Staines only managed to return into the net.

With victory on her mind, Sun closed the second set in practically perfect fashion, 6-0. The freshman slid into the splits to manage a return to her opponent and secure the match point. Tenacious and lethal, Sun proved in her singles match exactly why she was named Big 12 Player of the Week.

Despite failing to secure the doubles match point, the Longhorns finished their singles matches undefeated, closing the day 4–1 against the Red Raiders.