NORMAN, Okla. – It was not without heart or effort, but No. 17 Texas Tech (19-6) fell 4-3 to No. 25 Texas (16-10) on Saturday in the semifinals of the Big 12 Women’s Tennis Championships at the Headington Family Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Oklahoma.
It was the first of two upsets in the tournament, as No. 32 Oklahoma State upset No. 19 Baylor, 4-3, in the other semifinal. Baylor was the No. 1 seed and Texas Tech was the No. 2 seed. The final will now feature the third-seeded Longhorns against the fifth-seeded Cowgirls.
“It was a tough deal,” said Lady Raider head coach Todd Petty. “I’m really proud of the way we competed. I’m proud of the way , after getting down like that early in the match, being able to fight our way back. Hats off to Texas. They played so good at the top of the lineup. Kenna had a heroic weekend and Begley was just too tough today.
“This match could have got us in to host (NCAA Regionals) and that was a tough situation, a tough pill to swallow. All I asked them to do before the match was to give 100 percent and don’t leave anything in the tank today and if I can look at you and you say you did that then we’ll be happy with whatever the result was. And, they all did.”
The day started with Texas Tech playing to its strength – doubles. And the Lady Raiders came out of the gates quickly at No. 2 and No. 3. The problem was who would get to the finish line first.
The No. 2 tandem of Rashmi Teltumbde and Nikki Sanders were tied 1-1 and after a serve and a break lead 3-1. Suddenly it was 8-2 and the duo had ran past Texas’ Elizabeth Begley and Aeriel Ellis. It was Teltumbde and Sanders’ 24th win of the season as a doubles combination.
The senior duo of Caroline Starck and Elizabeth Ullathorne were not far behind, as they dispatched the Longhorn team of Annat Rabinovich and Lina Padegiamite, 8-3. Starck and Ullathorne improved to 20-7 on the year with the win.
The ranked battled between Tech’s No. 17 Samantha Adams and Kenna Kilgo and Texas’ No. 18 Breaunna Addison and Noel Scott was abandoned when the point was secured.
Texas quickly secured the lead back when No. 39 Aeriel Ellis topped No. 78 Adams, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1, followed by No. 33 Addison’s win over Teltumbde, 6-2, 6-2, give the Longhorns a 2-1 lead.
Sanders tied the match back at 2-2, when she stroked a 6-1, 6-3 win over Lina Padegiamite, at No. 5.
Texas added its third point with a come-from-behind win on court three, when Begley topped Kilgo, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
All attention moved to courts four and six. Texas Tech would need to win both to advance to the finals.
Ullathorne lost a hard-fought first set, 7-5, only to get a key break and serve out a 6-4 win in the second. There was no stopping the senior from England in the third, as she cruised to a 6-1 victory to tie the score at 3-3.
It set up a rematch of Apr. 6, when the last match on was Starck and Groenvynvck. That Saturday in Austin, Starck won, 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3, to give Texas Tech a 4-3 win over Texas.
On Saturday in Norman, Groenvynvck took the first set, 6-4, but Starck answered with 6-3 victory in the second set. The Texas freshman jumped out to a 4-1 lead on Starck in the third, but all of a sudden lost her serve and Starck was back in the match at 4-4.
The two traded games and the scoreboard read 5-5 with Starck serving. Groenvynvck broke the Texas Tech senior and then served for the match and the victory for Texas.
It is the second year in a row that Texas has topped Texas Tech in the semifinals of the Big 12 Championships. Last season in College Station, The No. 13 Longhorns defeated the No. 17 Lady Raiders, 4-1.
With a Big 12 regular season title in hand for the second straight season, the Lady Raiders now wait for Tuesday’s NCAA Selection Show to find out their future.
Big 12 Championships Semifinals
#25 Texas 4, #17 Texas Tech 3
Norman, Okla. (Headington Family Tennis Center)
1. #39 Aeriel Ellis (UT) def. #78 Samantha Adams (TT) 6-2, 6-2
2. #33 Breaunna Addison (UT) def. Rashmi Teltumbde (TT) 6-2, 6-1
3. Elizabeth Begley (UT) def. Kenna Kilgo (TT) 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
4. Elizabeth Ullathorne (TT) def. Noel Scott (UT) 5-7, 6-4, 6-1
5. Nikki Sanders (TT) def. Lina Padegiamite (UT) 6-1, 6-3
6. Lana Groenvynvck (UT) def. Caroline Starck (TT) 6-4, 3-6, 7-5
1. #17 Samantha Adams/Kenna Kilgo (TT) vs. #18 Breaunna Addison/Noel Scott (UT) unfinished
2. Rashmi Teltumbde/Nikki Sanders (TT) def. Elizabeth Begley/Aeriel Ellis (UT) 8-2
3. Caroline Starck/Elizabeth Ullathorne (TT) def. Annat Rabinovich/Lina Padegiamite (UT) 8-3
Texas 16-10; National ranking #25
Texas Tech 19-6; National ranking #17
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (1,2,5,3,4,6)