No. 1 Women’s Tennis preview: ITA Kickoff Weekend

No. 1 TEXAS (1-0) vs. Florida Atlantic (2-2)

When: Friday, January 28 (11am CT)

True: Texas Tennis Center (Austin, Texas)

Live video: https://hookem.at/WTN-Watch

Live stats: https://hookem.at/WTN-Stats

No. 1 TEXAS (1-0) vs. Rice (1-0) or SMU (2-0)

When: Saturday, January 29 (2:00 PM CT)

True: Texas Tennis Center (Austin, Texas)

Live video: https://hookem.at/WTN-Watch

Live stats: https://hookem.at/WTN-Stats

Host site for ITA Kickoff Weekend: Texas will once again host a regional site for the ITA Kickoff Weekend at the Texas Tennis Center. The Longhorns will face Florida Atlantic on Friday, January 28 (11am CT) and Saturday, January 29 (2pm CT) against SMU or Rice. The winners from each regional venue will advance to the ITA Division I National Team Indoor Championships February 11-14 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Team ranking: Texas is No. 1 in the latest national rankings of ITA Collegiate Division I teams (January 26). This is the fourth consecutive poll that the Longhorns have taken first place in the rankings. UT took the No. 1 spot in last year’s final poll and is No. 1 in each of the first three weekly polls this season, beginning January 5. Texas has finished in the Top 10 in the latest national polls each of the last four years (No. 6 in 2018, No. 9 in 2019, No. 4 in 2020 and No. 1 in 2021).

Individual rankings: Two UT players are included in the current ITA national Top 125 singles ranking (December 8): Kylie Collins (no. 40) and Malaika Rapolu (no. 117). A pair of Longhorns are also listed in the current ITA National Top 60 Doubles Rankings (December 8): Charlotte Chavatipon and Kylie Collins.

Season Opening Dual Match Sweep: Texas opened the 2022 dual-match season on Sunday (Jan. 23) with a 7-0 home game against Texas State. UT earned the double point, claiming wins in all six singles matches to win dominantly.

Solid start in Miami: Texas recorded a total of 10 singles and two doubles victories during the three-day Miami Invitational (January 15-17) in Coral Gables, Fla. Sophomores Peyton Stearns and Kylie Collins each finished with perfect 3-0 points in singles, while sophomores Charlotte Chavatipon and Malaika Rapolu both registered 2-1 records in singles. Collins won against three ranked opponents, beating No. 25 Abigail Rencheli of NC State (2-6, 6-1, 6-4), No. 96 Marcella Cruz of Vanderbilt (6-3, 6-3) and No. 76 Isabella Pfennig from Miami (3-6, 6-4, 6-4). Stearns took an impressive 6-4, 6-3 win over NC State’s No. 8 Jaeda Daniel and a 6-4, 6-0 win over No. 112 Anessa Lee of Vanderbilt. Rapolu added a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win against No. 119 Holly Staff of Vanderbilt.

Big 12 Preseason Favorite: Texas picked to win Big 12 Conference title in league coaches preseason vote. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams. Texas was selected as the preseason Big 12 favorite for the fourth consecutive year and fifth time in the poll’s history. UT was the unanimous favorite among the other head coaches, receiving all nine votes for first place and 81 points in the polls for the upcoming 2022 season. Baylor came in second with 68 points and one vote in first place, while Oklahoma came in third with 66 points. Rounding out the poll in descending order are Oklahoma State (60), Iowa State (48), Texas Tech (39), Kansas (35), TCU (29), Kansas State (24), and West Virginia (9).

Dual Match Streak: Texas enters Friday’s game against FAU sporting a Win streak of 25 matches. Texas closed its 2021 NCAA Championship run by winning the last 24 games of the year. UT’s last loss came in a 4-3 thriller to then-no. 1 North Carolina in the ITA Indoor Championship Championship game on February 7, 2021.

Big 12 Series: Texas has a current 31-game winning streak in Big 12 regular-season doubles. The Longhorns have not dropped a regular season game since a 4-2 loss to Baylor on April 12, 2017.

Home Success at the TTC: The Longhorns are in their fifth year at the Texas Tennis Center. UT has registered a 42-3 mark in double matches with the TTC, including a perfect 15-0 record in regular season Big 12 matches. During its inaugural season in 2018, Texas went home 13-0 (5-0 in Big 12 play). The Longhorns went 8-2 on the TTC in 2019 (3-0 Big 12) and 7-1 in the shortened 2020 season (2-0 Big 12). UT recorded a perfect 13-0 on the TTC (5-0 Big 12) in 2021 and stands 1-0 this season.

Joffe in year seven: head coach Howard Joffe is in his seventh season as leader of the UT program. Joffe, the 2021 ITA Division I Women’s National Coach of the Year, has a record of 116-32 (.784) in his previous six years in Texas and a record of 247-93 (.726) in 14 previous seasons as a collegiate head coach . He has helped four Longhorns achieve a total of five ITA All-America honors in singles (Breanna Addison in 2016, Bianca Turati in 2018, Anna Turatic and Bianca Turati in 2020 and Peyton Stearns in 2021) and one duo earn ITA All-America honors in doubles (Kylie Collins and Lulu Sun in 2021), while 12 of his UT players have recorded 15 All-Big 12 singles and 14 All-Big 12 doubles.

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