SKILLMAN, N.J. - The Baylor women's tennis team will start off the 2013 spring season ranked No. 15, after the Intercollegiate Tennis Association released its first set of team rankings on Thursday.
"I'm interested in statistics, but not this particular one," head coach Joey Scrivano said. "Our preseason ranking and rankings in general are absolutely irrelevant. I'm more concerned with our ability to play fundamentally sound tennis. At the moment, we're not doing that, but I'm hoping we can evolve into a great team over the course of the season. The final ranking is the one I'll be paying attention to."
Last season, Baylor finished ranked No. 13 in the country, after posting a 25-8 record. The Lady Bears reached the NCAA round of 16 for an eighth consecutive season in 2012, but will have to replace three key members from that squad. Diana Nakic, Sona Novakova and Nina Secerbegovic have exhausted their eligibility, and for the first time since 2005 Scrivano will not have a senior on his roster.
Baylor will be looking to capture its eighth Big 12 regular season title in the last nine years and the seventh league tournament crown in the last eight years. In his 11th-season at the helm of the program, Scrivano has a roster that features four juniors, two sophomores, one redshirt freshman and a freshman.
In the ITA's singles rankings, junior Ema Burgic was No. 16, while her and partner Jordaan Sanford were listed at No. 27 in the doubles rankings.
Burgic earns the highest ranking of her career, after posting a 15-3 singles record in fall play. The native of Bosnia & Herzegovina racked up a 7-2 mark against ranked foes in three fall tournaments. She opened the year with six straight wins to advance to the main draw of the ITA All-American Championships. Later in the fall, Burgic posted five consecutive wins to make the final of the ITA Texas Regional. In the final event of the year, she captured the singles title at the Jack Kramer Invite with four straight wins.
The doubles duo of Burgic and Sanford partnered together for a 4-3 record in the fall. The tandem made the semifinals of the ITA Texas Regional with three straight wins to open the event, including a victory over 33rd-ranked Katie Gater and Liat Zimmerman of Rice.
Baylor is one of 16 schools in the country to have both its men's and women's tennis programs ranked in the top 25. The BU men are also ranked No. 15 to start the season.
The Lady Bears will open the 2013 dual-match season by hosting Sam Houston State on Jan. 24 at 3:30 p.m. at the Hurd Tennis Center. Prior to opening dual-match play, Baylor will welcome Auburn, Houston and Stephen F. Austin to Waco for the HEB Invitational, Jan. 18-20.