‘It’s a bit of a wake up and call to arms,’ – head coach Howard Joffe reviews season after winning streak snapped at 30

Angelina Attaway, Sports Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in the Feb. 25, 2022 flipbook.

Despite their first home loss of the season Sunday, No. 5 Texas women’s tennis has dominated the beginning of their season, with a 7–2 record. 

The team has been ranked in the top five for the entirety of the season and includes multiple nationally ranked singles players, but head coach Howard Joffe attributes the record to team play. 

“The energy on the team creates an atmosphere where you can grow and perform,” Joffe said.

From Feb. 11-13, Texas took on its first large-scale challenge of the year in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. Up until the tournament, the team held a No. 1 national ranking and 30-game winning streak but shattered those stats in a second round loss to Oklahoma.  Despite the team entering as the tournament favorite, Joffe said he “did not have expectations.” 

“I was not the slightest shocked or disappointed that we got beat,” Joffe said. “If anything, the tournament was very good for us to open the eyes of our players.” 

While the players were disappointed with their performance, Joffe was hopeful that this tournament would prepare them for tougher matches ahead. 

“The competition in the next two weeks is going to be every bit as ferocious,” Joffe said. “We’re going out to play Stanford and Cal next week. We are definitely going to see how the young team responds to that.”

Despite the high expectations for the team, as the Longhorns inch closer to their conference season opener against Texas Tech on March 11, Joffe said his main focus is the overall health and well-being of the players. 

“I’m very involved in the teaching and strategy, but I like to see myself more as a conduit to helping them grow as people,” Joffe said. 

Joffe said maintaining this mental and physical well-being would continue to be the key to success if Texas makes a run in the playoffs. Joffe said he sees his own self-awareness and goals for this season to be the guiding force behind his coaching style for the Longhorns. 

“In order to become a champion of any realm, aside from the skill, there has to be a person behind it who has a well-defined sense of who they are and what they want,” Joffe said.

The road to the Big 12 and NCAA championships will be long, with 12 games remaining in the regular season that require the youthful team to step up. 

“That is the challenge ahead of us: the relative health of the team and the youth and inexperience, for sure,” Joffe said.

After falling to No. 2 NC State on Sunday, the team will again go head-to-head with challenging opponents this weekend, playing Stanford this Friday and California on Sunday. However, Joffe remains hopeful in his players and their own abilities. 

“It’s all just really about practicing well and trying to perform at your best level,” Joffe said. “The winning and the losing, it takes care of itself.”