WACO, Texas - For an eighth straight season, the Baylor women's tennis team will be heading to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, after capturing a 4-3 victory over 21st-ranked Texas Tech on Sunday at the Hurd Tennis Center.
Trailing 3-1 in the match, the 15th-ranked Lady Bears (3-0) were on the cusp of not making the event for the first time since 2005. However, Baylor rolled off three-straight singles wins to keep the streak alive and stun the Lady Raiders (2-1).
"I love the way we competed today," head coach Joey Scrivano said. "This team is showing they care and that they want to win bad. Our team had a lot of adversity today, but then to find a way to come out of it is the signature of a great team."
The win coupled with Saturday's victory over No. 36 Florida State propels Baylor to the 16-team ITA National Team Indoor Championships, which will be held Feb. 8-11, in Charlottesville, Va.
BU dug an early hole by dropping the doubles point for the first time this season. Baylor's No. 2 duo of Jordaan Sanford and Kiah Generette faltered against 33rd-ranked Nikki Sanders and Rashmi Teltumbde, 8-2. TTU locked up the point as Samantha Adams and Kenna Kilgo handed Ema Burgic and Victoria Kisialeva their first loss of the season, 8-3, at the No. 1 spot.
"I wish we would have played better in the doubles," Scrivano said. "We just did not play well on the bigger points. We have to get better."
The 16th-ranked Burgic was quick to make up for the doubles loss as she rolled to a 6-2, 6-0 win over the 49th-ranked Adams at the No. 1 position to start singles play.
"Ema is very capable of playing at an elite level," Scrivano said. "When she gets on track and has a clear vision of the way she has to play, she can beat anybody in the country. I was proud of the way she played today and made adjustments all weekend."
From there Texas Tech would claim the next two points to put the Lady Bears on the brink of defeat. Alex Leatu was beaten by Sanders, 6-1, 6-4, while Kisialeva fell 6-4, 6-3 to Sandra Dynka at the No. 6 and 5 positions, respectively.
Sanford would start Baylor's long climb back as she posted a 7-5, 6-3 victory at the No. 3 spot over Teltumbde.
When Sanford's match wrapped, Generette was just starting a third-set vs. Elizabeth Ullathorne at the No. 4 spot and Megan Horter was down 4-2 in the second-set, after winning the first, 7-6 (0) vs. Kenna Kilgo at the No. 2 position.
Horter would go on to lose the second-set, 6-3, but she rebounded and reeled off a 6-2 victory in the third set to square the match at three points apiece.
Meanwhile, Generette was in a heated battle in the third set. She fell behind 3-1, before breaking the TTU senior and then holding and then breaking her again for a 4-3. However, Ullathorne answered right back with a break and a hold of her own for a 5-4 advantage. From that point, the Baylor freshman won the next three games to clinch her match and the victory for BU.
"Kiah did her job to a whole new level today," Scrivano said. "She focused on her match and was in her own world. She just focused on what she had control over and got a huge win."
BU has now hosted the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in five straight years and has advanced out of the four-team qualifying pod each season.
The Lady Bears are now 21-11 all-time vs. the Lady Raiders and have won 11 of the last 12 meetings.
Baylor will now head out for its first road match of the season. BU will meet No. 4 Florida at 1 p.m. on Feb. 2 in Gainesville, Fla.
To stay up-to-date with the team all season long follow @BaylorWTennis on Twitter.