April 19, 2014
AUSTIN, Texas - Freshman Blair Shankle won a third-set tiebreaker to propel the 14th-ranked Baylor women's tennis team to a 4-3 victory over No. 20 Texas on Friday at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center.
The win gave Baylor (21-6, 9-0) sole possession of the Big 12 regular season trophy and the No. 1 seed at next week's Big 12 Championships.
Shankle's heroics came after the Lady Bears had jumped out to a 3-0 match lead and the Longhorns had stormed back to tie things at three points apiece.
The freshman from Dallas, Texas had won her first set 6-3 and was then poised to take the match on court four over Neda Koprcina, but lost four straight games to drop the second set, 7-5. The third set was a back and forth battle that ended up in a tiebreaker.
In the breaker, Shankle fell behind 5-4 due to two double faults with Koprcina set to serve out the match. However, Shankle won the next two points to take a 6-5 lead. To earn the victory, Shankle hit a forehand volley down the line that Koprcina couldn't reach with her backhand stab.
Shankle was mobbed on the court by her teammates and the Lady Bears celebrated with a Big 12 trophy presentation in the locker room.
BU opened the match by winning the doubles point for the 20th time this season, but it didn't come easy.
The 88th-ranked duo of Alex Clay and Shankle knotted the doubles point at one match each with an 8-2 takedown of Pippa Horn and Juliana Gajic on court 3. The Baylor duo is now 9-0 on the season.
That result shifted the focus to court two. Ema Burgic and Kiah Generette fell behind Koprcina and Ratnika Batra, 4-2, and then took the next five games for a 7-4 lead. The Longhorns responded with wins in the next two games, but Generette served it out for an 8-6 BU victory.
BU carried the momentum over to singles as the 81st-ranked Burgic downed No. 119 Begley on court two, 6-4, 6-1. The 48th-ranked Sanford pushed the Lady Bears to the brink of victory with a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 94 Batra on court three.
Texas got its three points in singles as Lina Padegimaite downed Alex Leatu, 6-4, 6-4, at the bottom of the lineup. Pippa Horn best Alex Clay, 7-5, 6-3 on court 5 and then the 14th-ranked Addison knocked off Generette 7-6(0), 7-5, in the No. 1 singles position.
The victory was also BU's 11th-straight win, including eight consecutive over ranked opponents. The loss dropped Texas to 11-11 and 6-3 in Big 12 play.
- Baylor has now won10 Big 12 regular season titles and eight in the last nine years.
- It is the seventh time BU has won the title outright and the first time since 2011.
- BU has been undefeated in Big 12 Conference play six times and was last unbeaten in 2010.
- Baylor is 20-0 when winning the doubles point this season.
- BU has won 15 of the last 16 matches and is now 16-34 all-time vs. Texas.
- Sanford won her 16th consecutive decision in singles play.
- Burgic has won five straight singles matches.
- The match lasted four hours and 37 minutes.
STAT OF THE MATCH
16 - the number of Big 12 Conference titles that the Lady Bears now own (10 regular season and six tournament).
TOP QUOTE #1
"Yeah, she's tough as nails. She just competes so darned hard that, yeah, that's who you want. You want someone who competes hard and never gives up. This match was a roller-coaster, and she just kept her composure and had great poise. She was just tough." - head coach Joey Scrivano on Shankle
TOP QUOTE #2
"When the pressure was on, they came back to the fundamentals. They really came together as a team. They got real engaged, real focused, and that was the difference in that match. There was very little separating those two teams, so Kiah and Ema were just being good teammates to each other, and kept competing and kept fighting -- same thing as (the Shankle match). You've got to fight all the way to the finish line, and thankfully this team did that today." - Scrivano on the winning doubles point
TOP QUOTE #3
""The league's better than it's ever been, depth wise, and we're not at the absolute top of our game. So the margins are very small. So for us to finish undefeated, I'm really, really proud of everybody on this team and really happy for the newcomers, like Blair. That first championship, you never forget that. And for the seniors, this is a great notch to have on their belt. And we're excited." - Scrivano on being undefeated in Big 12 play
TWEET OF THE MATCH:
Baylor will be back in action when the Lady Bears travel to Fort Worth, Texas, to compete in the Big 12 Championships beginning April 24.
To stay current on all things Baylor Women's Tennis, follow the team on Twitter and Instagram: @BaylorWTennis.