No. 19 Texas Tech Wins Big 12 Women's Tennis Title|
Junior captain Caroline Starck had the match-clinching victory for the Lady Raiders on Sunday.
April 22, 2012
LUBBOCK, Texas - And they quietly won with a loud bang on Sunday.
For 35 years Texas Tech Lady Raider tennis was a mere afterthought, but not Sunday at the McLeod Tennis Center. No. 19 Texas Tech rushed out of the gate like a steaming locomotive to pull off a 5-2 win over Iowa State and win the 2012 Big 12 Conference women's tennis championship.
Combined with No. 51 Oklahoma State's stunning 4-3 win over No. 6 Texas, Texas Tech finished in sole possession of the top spot in the Big 12 and will be the No. 1 seed at the 2012 Big 12 Championships in College Station later this week.
It was Texas Tech's first conference title in team-oriented sport since 2000. It was the Lady Raiders' first conference title in tennis ever and their best finish in conference since finishing fourth last season.
"These girls have put in the time," said Lady Raider head coach Todd Petty. "This is not a fluke. We started this out two years ago when this group of juniors came in and this is something that they had hope to accomplish and they did it."
Texas Tech swept the doubles to start the day. The No. 28 tandem of Samantha Adams and Kenna Kilgo topped Maria Fernanda Macedo and Tessa Lange, 8-3. Nikki Sanders and Caroline Starck then cruised in shortly after with an 8-3 win over Simona Cacciuttolo and Marie Chartier.
Rashmi Teltumbde and Elizabeth Ullathorne closed out doubles with an 8-2 victory over Ksenia Pronina and Janna Langhorst, 8-2. It was the 19th win of the season of the tandem of Teltumbde and Ullathorne, but more importantly, the duo completed Big 12 play a perfect 8-0 earning 2012 Big 12 No. 3 Doubles title.
Adams and Kilgo also won the 2012 Big 12 No. 1 Doubles title after finishing 7-1 in league play. It is the first time a Tech tandem has won a position since Erin Hunter and Katja Kovacic won No. 3 doubles in 2005 and 2006. In 2005, the Lady Raiders also won the No. 1 Doubles (Tara Browning / Lakann Wagley) and the No. 3 Doubles (Hunter / Kovacic) titles).
Kilgo rolled Langhorst, 6-1, 6-1 at No. 5 singles and Adams, who is currently ranked No. 102, then quickly dispatched Pronina, 6-2, 6-1, to run the team score to 3-0.
Starck clinched the win and the conference title with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Meghan Cassens at No. 4 singles. She improved to 7-2 on the season in league matches and 26-8 overall.
"This feels unreal," said Starck. "We have all been waiting for this moment, try not to look ahead and take it one match at a time. We are finally here. We finally did it. I do not have any words to describe this. It is unbelievable."
Sanders added a win at No. 6, giving the Lady Raiders its fifth point of the afternoon.
Texas Tech has been unstoppable because of the bottom half of its lineup. The Lady Raiders have gone an amazing 63-8 at the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 positions this year.
For the first time since 1987, Texas Tech has four players with 20 singles victories in a single season - Kilgo (27-8), Starck (26-8), Sanders (24-5) and Adams (20-14).
#19 Texas Tech 5, Iowa State 2