NORMAN, Okla. – Plagued by a faulty overhand serve, Texas freshman Lana Groenvynck smacked an underhand serve on match point that yielded an errant return and gave the third-seeded Longhorns (16-10) a 4-3 victory over second-seeded Texas Tech (19-6) Saturday in the Big 12 Championship semifinals. The Longhorns upset the Lady Raiders for a second consecutive year in the semifinals of the Big 12 Championship.
Texas reaches the finals of the Big 12 Championship for a 10th consecutive year and the 16th time in the event’s 17-year history. In Sunday’s finals, the Longhorns will meet fifth-seeded Oklahoma State, who posted a 4-3 upset win over top-seeded Baylor, the Big 12 regular season co-champion alongside Texas Tech. Texas looks for its second consecutive Big 12 crown after defeating Texas A&M in the final last season in College Station.
With Texas leading the Lady Raiders, 3-2, Groenvynck held a 4-1 third-set lead over Texas Tech’s Caroline Starck at sixth singles. But, plagued by numerous double faults, the first-semester freshman from Belgium relinquished two service games and enabled Starck to tie the final set at four games apiece.
Texas Tech evened the match at three-all behind a win from Elizabeth Ullathorne at fourth singles, leaving the Groenvynck-Starck contest to decide the match. Groenvynck broke Starck for a 5-4 third-set lead, but Groenvynck yielded the next game on her serve to even the set at five.
Groenvynck broke Starck’s serve again and claimed a 6-5 lead. Serving for the match, Groenvynck produced another double fault, but Groenvynck smacked a backhand winner on the ensuing point to set up a second match point. Groenvynck double-faulted again, but a Starck error on the next point set up what proved to be the final match point.
Groenvynck struck the first serve out of bounds before delivering an unconventional, but effective underhand serve on her second attempt. Starck’s forehand sailed wide of the right sideline, and Texas clinched the 4-3 victory.
Texas Tech led off the match by winning two of the three doubles contests to claim the doubles point and a 1-0 lead. Two-time All-American Aeriel Ellis evened the match for the Longhorns by posting a 6-2, 6-2 win over Tech’s Samantha Adams at first singles. Ellis improved to 11-0 against conference opponents this season with the win.
Texas assumed a 2-1 lead behind Breaunna Addison’s 6-2, 6-1 win over Rashmi Teltumbde at second singles. The Boca Raton, Fla., native improved to 10-1 against league foes with a 7-0 mark at No. 2 singles.
Tech tied the match at two by way of a 6-1, 6-3 win from Nikki Sanders over Lina Padegimaite at fifth singles. Texas’ Elizabeth Begley engaged in a tight battle with Tech’s Kenna Kilgo at third singles before providing the crucial third point for the Longhorns.
Begley dropped the first set, 6-2, but after holding serve for a 4-3 second-set lead, Begley broke Kilgo and held serve to take the second set, 6-3. Begley raced out to a 4-0 third-set lead before Kilgo held and broke Begley to close within 4-2. Begley, however, broke Kilgo one more time for a 5-2 lead. On match point, Begley struck a backhand that clipped the net cord and passed Kilgo for a winner, as Texas assumed a 3-2 lead.
UT’s Noel Scott took the first set off of Tech’s Ullathorne at fourth singles, but Ullathorne held on for a 6-4 second-set win to force a third set. Ullathorne broke Scott in the first game of the third set, which she claimed, 6-1 to even the match at three and set the stage for Groenvynck’s clinching victory at sixth singles.
2013 Big 12 Championship – Semifinals
(3) Texas 4, (2) Texas Tech 3
Doubles – Order of Finish: 3, 2
1 No. 18 Breaunna Addison/Noel Scott (UT) vs. No. 17 Samantha Adams/Kenna Kilgo (TT) - UT led, 7-2, susp.
2 Rashmi Teltumbde/Nikki Sanders (TT) def. Elizabeth Begley/Aeriel Ellis (UT) – 8-2
3 Caroline Starck/Elizabeth Ullathorne (TT) def. Annat Rabinovich/Lina Padegimaite (UT) – 8-3
Singles – Order of Finish: 1, 2, 5, 3, 4, 6
1 No. 39 Aeriel Ellis (UT) def. No. 78 Samantha Adams (TT) – 6-2, 6-2
2 No. 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 Padegimaite (UT) – 6-1, 6-3
6 Lana Groenvynck (UT) def. Caroline Starck (TT) – 6-4, 3-6, 7-5
Texas Tech head coach Todd Petty
“It was a tough deal. 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 (Kilgo) had a heroic weekend and (UT’s Elizabeth) Begley was just too tough today.
“This match could have got us in to host (NCAA first- and second-round matches) 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.”
Texas head coach Patty Fendick-McCain
We’ve got some pretty tough warriors on our team, and I’m pretty proud of them. We have not been playing our best tennis, but, to our credit, I think we fight really hard.
That was the best underhand serve I think I’ve ever seen. It’s tough as a freshman. (Lana’s) only been in the United States a couple of months. She’s a January freshman and that’s a lot for her to carry on her shoulder. So, you just get through it anyway you have to.”