The No. 13 Baylor women’s tennis team (7-2) returns to Hurd Tennis Center for three consecutive home challenges. The Lady Bears will open the stretch against Incarnate Word (3-7) and Old Dominion (6-3) on Thursday at 11 a.m. (CT) and 5 p.m., respectively. The team meets No. 21 UCLA, its third opponent in the three-day stretch, on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Cub Tennis, which is for children 11 and younger, will be held at 4 p.m. on Thursday and 12 p.m. on Saturday prior to first serve. Tennis equipment is provided, but all participates must wear athletic clothing and shoes to take part.
The Lady Bears remained in the Top 15 nationally at No. 13 after splitting on the road last weekend, 1-1. Baylor opened the weekend with a 4-2 neutral site victory against Miami before falling to No. 2 Ohio State, 4-0, in Columbus, Ohio.
“We’re trying to get back to doing the little things well, focusing on discipline and playing with no regrets,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “That takes a great deal of focus and our players are tough. They’ve shown the whole year that they’re willing to play that way. Any time you’re coming off of a loss, it shakes up your team. Right now, we’re getting back to fundamentals and getting our minds right.”
Senior Blair Shankle, who is ranked No. 14 in singles, had strong performances in each dual match. She recorded the upset of No. 7 Sinead Lohan of Miami in three sets, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3. Against the top-ranked singles player nationally, Shankle matched Francesca Di Lorenzo point-for-point before the fourth point team point was secured. The No. 1 singles match went unfinished, 6-6 (2-5).
“Depth, discipline and the ability to stay calm under pressure are the strengths of this team,” Scrivano said. “They’re doing a good job of winning those 50/50 battles. If you look at our schedule it has been incredibly competitive and almost every match is like a Super Bowl for us. I’m really proud of our team’s focus and their willingness to stick with it for the long haul. Any time a team can play with that kind of discipline and mental toughness it speaks volumes about them as people.”
Incarnate Word enters Thursday with a 3-7 record on the season with wins over Prairie View A&M, Trinity and Laredo Community College. Baylor leads the Cardinals, 2-0, in the all-time series, most recently recording a 4-1 win on April 13, 2016, in Waco, Texas.
Old Dominion is 6-3 on the season, recording victories against Temple, Xavier, Appalachian State, Richmond, East Carolina and Penn. The Lady Bears are 1-0 all-time against the Lions, winning the lone matchup, 5-2, on Feb. 8, 2002. Old Dominion boasts a pair of ranked singles players in No. 68 Holly Hutchinson and No. 112 Borislava Botusharova.
Baylor and UCLA have always been competitive historically, but the No. 21 Bruins hold a 6-5 edge in the all-time series. In the most recent meeting on Feb. 27, 2016, the Lady Bears fell, 4-1, on the road. The Bruins are 6-3 on the season, boasting wins against Loyola Marymount, Kentucky, Saint Mary’s, UC Santa Barbara, San Diego and USC. UCLA has the No. 2 ranked singles player in Ena Shibahara and No. 4 doubles duo in Jada Hart and Shibahara.
After their three matches at home, the Lady Bears meet Tulsa on the road on Monday, March 6. First serve is set for 5 p.m.