Baylor's women's tennis opens the 2017 regular season this weekend in action at the National Collegiate Tennis Classic from Jan. 13-16, at Sunrise Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Senior Rhiann Newborn, sophomore Karina Traxler and freshman Angelina Shakraichuk will play their way through the singles bracket, and Newborn and Shakraichuk team up for doubles action.
“For any of our players at this stage of the season, it’s important to just get back into it,” Baylor head coach Joey Scrivano said. “I look for them to compete and sharpen their skills to get ready for the season that is ahead. We need to focus on what’s in front of us, take it day by day and let it build from there.”
Shakraichuk is making her Baylor debut after joining the program in January. She will gain valuable experience, competing in both singles and doubles for the Bears right away.
“For Angelina, this is a great opportunity for her to get her feet wet and learn a lot about college tennis and the level of play,” Scrivano said. “All we’re expecting from her is to have a great attitude, give it her best effort and get more familiar with our program, our system and our way of doing things.”
Baylor is one of nine teams with representatives competing in the tournament. The field features student-athletes from No. 4 Stanford, No. 5 Oklahoma State, No. 17 Texas, No. 25 UCLA, Arizona, USC, San Diego, and Wichita State.
Match play kicks off at 10 a.m. (CT) Friday and continues on day two beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday. The final day of action starts at 11 a.m. Sunday. Fans can watch matches live on www.flotennis.com.
Baylor, which tied for second with a 6-3 record in the conference regular season last year, was picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 Women’s Tennis Preseason Poll.
A trio of Lady Bears appeared in the first round of Oracle/ITA Collegiate Tennis Division I National Rankings, led by senior Blair Shankle at No. 7, becoming the ninth player in program history to earn a Top 10 ranking. Freshman Jessica Hinojosa was No. 117 in singles, while Shankle and Elizabeth Profit were rated as the No. 15 doubles duo.
Last season, Baylor finished ranked No. 32 in the country, after posting an 18-15 record. The Lady Bears bring back six letterwinners from that team, including an All-American in Shankle, Newborn, Vanessa Phan, Profit, Traxler and Theresa Van Zyl. Baylor added three newcomers in Hinojosa, Jazzi Plews and Angelina Shakhraichuk to the roster.
“We really like this team, but ultimately your goals are going to be impacted by what you do on a daily basis,” Scrivano said. “This team knows that they can become one of the greatest we’ve had in our program, but there is a process. Our players know what it takes and what they need to do on a daily basis to have a great season.”