WACO, Texas – After dropping the doubles point and two of the first three singles points, Baylor’s third-ranked women’s tennis team erased the deficit to win 4-3 against No. 55 Alabama on Saturday in the first round of the ITA National Team Indoor Qualifier at the Baylor Tennis Center.
“If we would have had one player not show up today then we would have lost,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “I’m really proud of my team today. They competed hard from start to finish. We didn’t play our best but we competed hard and that got us through the match.”
The Lady Bears faced their first big test of the season, and had to put together a huge comeback for the victory. The Crimson Tide made the first mini-comeback of the day after the teams split doubles on Courts 2 and 3, erasing a two-game deficit on Court 1.
“Being able to comeback has been the trademark of our program,” Scrivano said. “We don’t rely on doubles points to win matches and I love that about our team. They understand that being down 1-0 is not the end of the world and if you play fundamentally sound tennis then you can win four out of six [singles matches].”
The sixth-ranked duo of Alexa Guarachi and Courtney Mclane were down 7-5 to Baylor’s top duo of Nina Secerbegovic and Jelena Stanivuk, but earned four consecutive games to take the match and the double point.
Already down a point, the Lady Bears couldn’t afford to just split the six singles matches. Secerbegovic, ranked 40th, defeated No. 72 Mclane on Court 3 in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, but Alabama took victories on Courts 1 and 6 in straight sets for the 3-1 team score lead.
At the same time, Baylor was holding one-set leads on Courts 4 and 5 with No. 122 Karolina Filipiak and Stanivuk. Stanivuk earned her point on Court 5 with a 6-2, 7-6 win, while Filipiak finished a tight match 7-6, 7-5 to put the team score tied.
With just one match remaining, the right to stay alive in the qualifying rounds of the ITA National Team Indoors came down to the match between Baylor’s No. 19 Sona Novakova and Alabama’s No. 63 Guarachi. After splitting the first two sets where Guarachi took the first 7-6 and Novakova took the second 6-2, it was Novakova who seized control. In the third set, the Baylor junior jumped out to a 4-0 lead on her way to a 6-3 set and the team win.