Longhorns sweep TCU to earn third consecutive Big 12 regular-season championship

Sam Starr

Since the Texas women’s tennis team’s lone loss to No. 1-ranked North Carolina on Feb. 7, the Longhorns have allowed opponents to score merely four total points in 14 matches. Their near-perfect regular season came to a close Sunday with a 7-0 victory against TCU.

Despite the historically individual nature of tennis, Texas’ impressive season is the product of rock-solid teamwork. The importance of a victory in doubles matches cannot be stressed enough, as it relieves a substantial amount of pressure from the singles matches. By seizing the doubles point, a team only has to win three of the six singles matches.

Although the Longhorns are composed of some of the top singles players in the country, their determination and collaboration on the doubles courts is unmatched. Throughout the season, Texas has managed to secure every single doubles match point besides their matches against Texas Tech and Oklahoma.

This team’s joint effort and will to win is impossible to ignore, especially with sporadic “Texas Fight!” chants sounding throughout the courts from the players. With two swift victories on the doubles courts and utter dominance in the singles matches, the Longhorns secured a shutout against the Horned Frogs to claim the Big 12 regular-season championship.

At doubles rank No. 14, freshmen Lulu Sun and Kylie Collins have both earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors this season. Playing on doubles court No. 1 on Sunday, the two showed everyone exactly why.

As usual, Sun and Collins appeared focused and determined while lining up against doubles rank No. 51, TCU redshirt senior Marie Norris and senior Stevie Kennedy. Ignoring the age disadvantage as they have all season, the Texas freshmen took a 6-4 victory in the first set, closing the match off of a solid forehand return from Collins.

Even more impressive than their obvious talent is the Longhorns’ refusal to turn on each other, even in the face of defeat. After every volley or rally, good or bad, each pair comes together for either a fist bump or high-five with some words of encouragement. Although these miniscule actions may not seem like much, they exemplify just how deep this team’s chemistry runs.

But Collins and Sun weren’t the only freshman doubles pair to shine Sunday. Freshmen Peyton Stearns and Charlotte Chavatipon secured the Longhorns’ first doubles match win of the day on court No. 3. Stearns ended the match on a classic cannon serve that TCU couldn’t handle, and the No. 47-ranked pair of Stearns and Chevatipon walked away with a 6-1 win.

With hard work comes improvement, and when an entire team works as hard as this Texas team, they begin to see unparalleled results. The Longhorns are extremely talented, but talent can only get a team so far. This particular team’s shared grind has propelled them into an unforgettable season that they hope will continue to produce outstanding results at the Big 12 Championship.