March 21, 2001
#14 Baylor (12-2, 5-0) vs. #5 Texas (9-2, 5-0)
Thursday, March 22, 2001, 2 p.m. , Waco, Texas (Streich Tennis Courts)
In perhaps their most important match of the year, the 14th-ranked Baylor women's tennis team will host No. 5 Texas Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Streich Tennis Courts. The Bears and Longhorns enter the match tied for first place in the Big 12.
Neither team is a stranger to being at the top of the conference. Texas has won the Big 12 regular season and tournament titles each year since the Big 12 was created. If you include the Southwest Conference days, the Longhorns have won nine conference titles in a row.
In 1997, the Bears finished tied for second in the Big 12, two games behind Texas. Last spring, Baylor again finished tied for second, and again, it was two games behind Texas.
Baylor suffered three of its five losses last season at the hands of the Longhorns. Texas won 8-1 in Austin during the regular season, then beat the Bears 5-0 in the Big 12 Championship final round. Following the conference tournament, the Baylor women were sent to Austin for their NCAA Regional. Naturally, the two teams met in the second round, and Texas came away with yet another 5-0 win. The Bears are 0-7 against the Longhorns since the two teams moved into the Big 12, 0-24 since 1983.
Texas is led by ninth-ranked Janet Walker, the 2000 Big 12 Player of the Year. Joining Walker on the Texas squad are No. 62 Joanne Masongsong and No. 90 Vladka Uhlirova. In doubles, Uhlirova and Walker are ranked No. 7, while Rebekah Forney and Kaysie Smashey are ranked 23rd.
Living It Up at Home
Since entering the Big 12 prior to the 1996-97 season, the Baylor women are 50-7 at home. The Bears have won 19 in a row at home, dating back to April 13, 1999, when they lost to then-No. 17 Arkansas, 6-3. Between April 16, 1999, and March 10, 2001, the Baylor men's and women's tennis teams won a combined 34 straight matches at home (16 by the men, 18 by the women).
Big 12 = Big Success
The Bears have lost only three singles matches in conference so far this season, the team is a combined 27-3 in singles.
Baylor is 11-1 this season when winning the doubles point, including a 5-0 record when sweeping doubles. The Bears are just 1-1 in matches when the opponent takes the first point.
Vida Mulec has won her last eight singles matches, a season high for her and two wins shy of her career high of 10, set last spring.
Katja Kovac won a career-high 11 straight matches (10/28-2/1) before losing to then-No. 1 Laura Granville of Stanford in the second round of the Rolex Indoors. The 11-match streak tied for sixth-best in school history.
Long-time doubles partners Karin Andersson and Frida Borjesson won their first five matches of the year, lost to No. 8 Granville/Lastra of Stanford, then won seven more in a row before losing March 17. The seven-match streak was a new career high for the duo and tied for the second-longest doubles win streak in school history.
Climbing the Ladder
Several current Baylor players are making their way up the career leader charts:
* Karin Andersson ranks third in school history in career singles wins (85), four wins behind second-place Katja Kovac. Andersson ranks second in career doubles wins (68), nine behind record holder Sophie Goldschmidt.
* Katja Kovac ranks second in career singles wins (89), three victories behind all-time leader Rachel Forney.
* Jahnavi Parekh holds fifth place in career singles wins (79), three behind fourth-place Melissa Castro.
Racking Up the Wins
Katja Kovac became the first Bear to reach 20 wins this season (2/19). Jahnavi Parekh and Vida Mulec each followed suit nearly a month later, as each won her 20th on the same day (3/17).
No Bears reached the 20 win mark in 1999-2000, but five Bears won at least that many in 1998-1999 (Karin Andersson 34, Kovac 33, Claudia Aguilar 24, Hortensia Hernandez 22 and Parekh 20).
Baylor in the Rankings
The team's No. 13 national ranking (2/28 and 3/7) was the program's highest ever. The Bears have ranked no lower than No. 19 since March 29, 2000.
The Baylor men's and women's tennis teams have both ranked in the top 25 for the past 53 weeks, dating to March 15, 2000, when the Baylor women moved up to No. 18.
Two Bears have earned their highest career ranking this season. Katja Kovac earned the highest singles ranking of her career in February at No. 19 (2/12), and Vida Mulec received her highest ranking at No. 41 in December.
The Baylor women earned three singles nominations and one doubles selection on the preseason all-Big 12 team. Senior all-American Jahnavi Parekh, junior Katja Kovac and sophomore Vida Mulec were each honored in singles, and the team of Kovac and Mulec was named to the doubles list.
Baylor has won five straight season openers, dating back to 1996... The Bears' win over then-No. 8 UCLA (Feb. 16) was the first win over a top-10 team in program history.