• Mens tennis falls to Baylor 4-1

    Fans flooded Caswell Tennis Center Wednesday. Another handful of burnt orange faithful watched from outside the fenced area, hoping to see their Longhorns take down No. 4 Baylor. 

    But the Bears proved to be a handful, overpowering Texas for a 4-1 win.

    The Longhorns’ season-long struggles in doubles play continued as Baylor won the first two matches 6-3, 6-2.

    “We had a terrible start in doubles,” head coach Michael Center said. “That set the tone and really put us in a hole, so I was pretty disappointed.”

    The Bears stayed on the attack in singles play. Baylor’s Max Tchoutakian extended the lead to 2-0 with a 6-3, 6-1 win over freshman Christian Sigsgaard.

    “Baylor always plays aggressive,” Center said. “We weren’t able to execute on some of the big points, so it just felt like we were fighting an uphill battle the whole night.”

    Senior George Goldhoff brought some life to the Longhorns, besting Baylor’s Will Little 6-1, 7-5 to make it a 2-1 score.

    The Bears responded, crushing all hopes of a comeback by winning the final two singles matches for a 4-1 win. The loss serves as a reminder to Texas that there’s room for improvement before entering postseason play in May.

    “We didn’t play well enough to win,” Center said. “But we have a lot of tennis ahead of us. We just have to play a lot better overall if we’re going to beat some of the top teams like Baylor.”

    The Longhorns face a quick turnaround as they play host to Texas Tech on Saturday at Caswell.

    “Our guys are pretty disappointed with the loss, but we’ll be ready to play on Saturday,” Center said. “That’s for sure.”

  • Multiple Longhorns to represent Texas on U.S. Collegiate Team

    It’s been nearly four months since Texas lost to Stanford in the NCAA Championship match, marking the second year in a row the Longhorns lost in the season’s final game. 

    But five Longhorns, including head coach Jerritt Elliott, finally have something to take their minds off their heartbreaking defeat to the Cardinal. 

    Elliott, along with four of his players, will compete on the U.S. Collegiate Team in Bangkok, Thailand, in a tournament spanning throughout most of the latter half of May. 

    Sophomore outside hitter Yaasmeen Bedardt-Ghani, freshman outside hitter Micaya White, senior middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu and sophomore middle blocker Morgan Johnson will compete on the team. 

    Those four Longhorns make up one-third of the total players on the team, who all hail from different universities around the country. The University of Kentucky is the only other school to send multiple players. The Wildcats are sending two.

    The team of 12 collegiate women will compete against Thailand’s national team, Thailand’s U23 team and Bangkok Glass — Thailand’s No. 1 professional team — during the annual U.S. Women’s Collegiate Thailand Tour on May 19–30. 

    Before then, Texas will play its spring schedule — including one home game against North Texas on April 18 at Gregory Gymnasium.

  • Spieth struggles in shocking loss in opening round

    Following a disastrous opening match loss to Hideto Tanihara 4 and 2 in the World Golf Championship-Dell Technologies Match Play Event, Jordan Spieth says he will be “rooting for a Ryan Moore victory tomorrow.” 

    If both Spieth and Moore win their Thursday matches, their clash on Friday would be a de facto play-in match for the single elimination stage of the tournament. 

    Spieth will surely be rooting against Moore if that were to occur — match play is a funny game. 

    Spieth never looked comfortable Wednesday on the course he knows so well from his playing days at the University of Texas. He had multiple uncharacteristic mistakes on the day, including an ugly pull-hooked approach shot on No. 12. He would bogey the hole and give Tanihara a 3 up advantage he would never relinquish. 

    Even playing against Spieth — the Austin darling and hometown favorite — Tanihara assured the media he felt right at home on the wind-blown Austin Country Club. And he backed it up with his play. 

    “I knew if I brought my “A” game, I could probably compete against him,” Tanihara said. 

    Tanhihara showed methodical precision throughout the day, limiting his mistakes and taking advantage of miscues from Spieth. Tanihara capitalized on three bogeys by Spieth over the final nine holes to close out the match on the 16th hole. 

    “Just an off day,” Spieth said. “Played a really good opponent… He only made one mistake all day.” 

    Earlier in the week, Spieth commented that he can’t wait for this year’s Masters to be behind him. And who can blame him? Every week he faces the same questions about his back-nine collapse at Augusta National 12 months ago. 

    And as the azaleas of Augusta get closer and closer to blooming, Spieth seems to be more and more fixated with the allure of reclaiming the green jacket. After a 20 minute post-round session on the range, he couldn’t help but talk about tuning up his swing in preparation for the Masters in two weeks.  

    “I liked my wedge play,” Spieth said. “I’ve been working on that. Different trajectories, I need that in a couple of weeks.” 

    If he can’t get his game in shape in the next two days, he’ll have all weekend to prepare for his long-awaited return to Augusta National. 

  • Championship berths aplenty for Longhorns in Columbia

    All-American senior Mark Anderson and freshman Grayson Campbell punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis, with both claiming top-seven finishes in the one-meter finals at the NCAA Zone “D” Diving Meet in Columbia, Missouri.

    Anderson claimed an additional berth with a second place finish in the three-meter finals, and Campbell followed suit with an eighth place finish.

    On the three-meter platform, freshman Jacob Cornish claimed a top-15 finish as a non-qualifier, delivering yet another NCAA Championships berth for Texas.

    For men’s head coach Eddie Reese, these berths are a product of a relentless, yearlong work ethic.

    “(We) want to have a good summer season, want to have a good regular season, and just keep going, getting better each time,” Reese said. “That’s the name of the game.”

    On the women’s side, freshman Alison Gibson posted a top-ten finish in the three-meter finals to punch her ticket to Indianapolis. Sophomore Meghan O’Brien added to the depth of the Championship roster by clinching berths in the one-meter and three-meter finals.

    Gibson also claimed a berth in the one-meter finals, making the cut with a 12th place finish.

    With the group set, Texas will have a week’s break before their trip to the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis.

    “We work all year to go to the NCAAs and compete with everybody there,” Reese said.

    The qualified divers join 15 Texas Swimmers who will get their shot as part of the entourage to Indianapolis, where the NCAA Championships are set for March 22-25 for men and March 15-18 for the women’s team.

  • Herman stresses winning culture as spring football begins

    A new era of Texas football will be ushered in Tuesday. The Longhorns will finally begin practicing under first-year head coach Tom Herman.

    The NCAA mandates that teams must train without pads and equipment in the first two spring practices. This will allow the Texas players and coaches to familiarize themselves with the young roster. 

    “The first two practices won’t tell us much other than the two things that I think are really important,” Herman said. “The two things that we demand in this program — that we don’t coach, we don’t teach, but we demand — are effort and ball security. If a guy doesn’t go hard, that’s hard to fix, so we want to see guys that go really hard.”

    Texas returns 17 offensive and defensive starters from 2016’s 5–7 campaign, but the team’s veterans are willing to adapt to Herman’s new methods in order to avoid a fourth-straight losing season.

    “I think our guys are embarrassed,” Herman said. “They understand that change is necessary in order to achieve some of their goals.”

    The revamped coaching staff plans to implement a winning culture at Texas, which Herman believes created in spring practices.

    “You have to set the expectation level early when developing a culture and developing a program,” Herman said. “I would hope after 15 practices, they would know what that expectation level is.”