Women's tennis squad poised for historic runJan. 20, 2010
Jed Dean | Photo editor
Women's tennis head coach Joey Scrivano teaches during Tuesday afternoon's practice at the Baylor Tennis Center. Scrivano's squad is the reigning Big 12 champion.
By Daniel Cernero
After recently receiving a No. 5 ranking, the Baylor women's tennis team will start the spring season looking to capture its first-ever national championship and first trip back to the Final Four since 2008.
The 2009 season finished in disappointing fashion, with the Lady Bears exiting in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships.
"The program is at the stage now where if we don't win the championship, it's a disappointing year," head coach Joey Scrivano said. "The exciting part is that every year you have a fresh opportunity to win it."
Along the way, Baylor will face an abundance of quality opponents, including four teams ranked in the top 10 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) team rankings.
Baylor is a very experienced team, with five upperclassmen, led by No. 17-ranked senior Lenka Broosova, who made it to the semifinals of the ITA Indoor National Championships in the fall. Broosova currently holds the Baylor record for most wins in a single season, after going 52-4 during the 2008 season.
"They've been in a lot of big matches and they've had a lot of success," Scrivano said about his experienced team. "That should translate into a lot of confidence."
The Lady Bears also have high hopes for their No. 13-ranked doubles tandem of Broosova and senior Csilla Borsanyi. The duo made it all the way to the semifinals of the NCAA Women's Tennis Doubles Championships last year.
"We're going to get a lot more aggressive this year, and I think that's what we needed last year at nationals," Borsanyi said. "It's going pretty well with us, but obviously we can learn a lot more and we can improve on certain areas."
Over the past five years, Baylor has put up incredible numbers against opponents from the Big 12 Conference, winning five consecutive Big 12 Championships and going 54-1 during that time.
"I believe that the coaching staff and the players expect to win (the Big 12 Championship) every year," Borsanyi said. "We all believe that we have to keep the tradition going."
Scrivano said that the Big 12 Conference is something they definitely don't take for granted. He said that he knows that if they're not at the top of their game, they won't win the league championship.
While there is a lot of focus on what the Lady Bears do on the court, they were recently recognized for their accomplishments in the classroom. Baylor was named an All-Academic team by the ITA, recording a 3.46 GPA as a team.
"These student-athletes are just amazing to be able to shine on the court and off the court and it says a lot of them as people," Scrivano said. "When they leave Baylor, these are going to be very successful young ladies."
Hard work is the mentality these players have and it is yet to be seen if it will all pay off in the end.
"I don't want to be leaving (Baylor) with a loss this year," Broosova said. "I want to win and I'll do anything for it."
The Lady Bears begin their spring season with a NCAA Indoor qualifying match against Harvard University on Jan. 29 in Waco.