Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

Texas women’s tennis prepares for Big 12 tournament after end of regular season

Skyler Sharp
Senior Taisiya Pachkaleva pumps her fist after scoring a point during singles play against Oklahoma on March 3, 2024.

Texas women’s tennis regular season has come to an end and the Big 12 tournament will take place Wednesday through Saturday. With yesterday’s sweep of in-state opponent Baylor, the Longhorns finished their season in dominant fashion with a 19–4 overall record and a 12–1 record in conference play. Texas has secured the No. 2 seed in the tournament and will soon travel to prepare for their first match on Thursday in Stillwater, Oklahoma. 

Texas has rolled over most of its Big 12 competition, defeating most of their opponents without relinquishing more than a single match point. With the victory over Baylor, Texas completed its seventh sweep against Big 12 competition and tenth of the season. 

“It’s definitely been an oddity, the regular season. It started out in California where three of our six starters woke up with food poisoning and had IV’s and couldn’t play,” said head coach Howard Joffe. “Since then I’m obviously ecstatic that the team has managed with a lot of adversity to put together a (19–4) record.”

Texas’ biggest competition in raising the Big 12 trophy comes from the nation’s No. 1 ranked Oklahoma State and rival, No. 20 Oklahoma. The Longhorns’ match against Oklahoma back in March was a close one as the Sooners were the only Big 12 team to take the doubles point. Texas barely defeated Oklahoma due to the heroic efforts of junior Sabina Zeynalova who clinched the match. 

Oklahoma State has been impressive this year and was undefeated in the regular season for the first time. The Cowgirls finished the year as the outright Big 12 regular season champions and were the only Big 12 team to defeat Texas in a close match that finished with the Cowgirls winning 4–3. 

“Obviously each match is a new match. … If our team is able to physically and emotionally rally and get to the final stages this week, I fully expect us to be able to win,” said Joffe. “There’s no question that there isn’t a team in the country that we aren’t fully capable of beating.”

Going into the tournament, the Longhorns have guaranteed themselves a first-round bye. They will take the court Thursday where they will face the victor of the match between the tournament’s prospective No. 7 and No. 10 seeds.

Entering this tournament on a seven-match win streak, Texas will continually rely on its most consistent players, including seniors Malaika Rapolu and Charlotte Chavatipon, both of whom were part of the team’s back-to-back national championships in 2021 and 2022.

“(Rapolu and Chavatipon) are certainly well experienced in competition like this and have led and will continue to lead by example,” said Joffe. “I fully expect them to perform very well, they’re both playing excellent tennis and they both are clear on what their intention is as they finish up their collegiate careers.”

What remains in question is Zeynalova, who has been sidelined with an injury and has not seen the court since clinching the win for her team against Oklahoma more than a month ago. Though the team remains hopeful, there is still uncertainty about whether she will be able to return in time for the Big 12 tournament. 

“She’s definitely getting closer and, of course, I’m hopeful that she will participate, but to what degree remains to be seen,” said Joffe. 

Despite the pressures ahead, Texas hopes to maintain its impressive run this past year into the postseason. With sights set on another national championship trophy, the Big 12 Championship is just another obstacle on the road to victory. The Longhorns will soon travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma for their first match of the tournament. 


More to Discover