Texas faces Rice for the second time this season in its last non-conference match of the season. After a tough loss to Oklahoma last week, the Longhorns were able get the best of Oklahoma State to stay near the top of the conference race.
Back in January, Texas played Rice in the second round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend for a spot in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The match had a series of close points, but Texas was able to sweep the Owls 4-0.
“Rice has a lot of good players. We have had many good matches with Rice through the years, so many matches that ended in a 4-3 result,” said head coach Michael Center. “We’re really familiar with Rice and beat Rice earlier this year. I expect this to be a real test for us this Saturday.”
Texas has found it difficult to be consistent in recent matches, culminating in the loss to the Sooners last week in which it failed to win the doubles point for only the second time all season. Texas is still in a good position to win the Big 12 thanks to a victory over Texas A&M in early February, but it has work to do to reach its potential.
“We lost a tough match last week at Oklahoma, but we’re getting healthier and playing good tennis,” Center said. “We need to play better tennis for longer stretches of time and be more aggressive in certain situations.”
The talent is there for Texas, with the tandem of senior Ed Corrie and junior Jean Andersen being ranked No. 3 in the nation. The Longhorns also have their top three singles players all ranked among the top 100 in the nation, led by Corrie at No. 28. If Texas can build on last week’s win over the Cowboys and generate some consistency, it has a good shot of returning to the ranks of the nation’s elite before the NCAA championships in May.