WTEN: Final Rankings Released
June 2, 2017
FORT WORTH, Texas – A top-35 final team spot for the third straight season along with three individual rankings highlights the final Oracle/ITA rankings for the TCU women’s tennis team that were released this week by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
The Horned Frogs earned a final team ranking of No. 28 to mark the third straight season and 20th time overall in program history the team has finished within the top 35 in the nation. Five of the last six seasons has seen TCU finish within the top 35 as the Frogs wrapped up the 2016-17 season with an overall record of 14-10 and a 5-4 mark in Big 12 action. TCU defeated three ranked opponents on their way to grabbing their 18th NCAA Championship bid and third straight while also upsetting a top-10 team for the third straight season.
"This team was so much fun to coach all year and a lot of that had to do with the belief and ability that was there each time out,” head coach Lee Taylor Walker said. “We knew from the beginning we had a team that could compete with anyone. We had some 4-3 heartbreaking losses that could've really solidified us as a top 10 team had they gone our way and I still think about how close we were our last match against Stanford. The disappointment of not reaching some of our goals doesn't compare to the amount of gratitude I have to all our players for putting us in those positions. We had four seniors really come together this year and overcome a lot of challenges personally and collectively. Sometimes a final ranking is accurate of your teams ability and level, and sometimes not. It's important to not get totally defined by that number because of the amount of parity or injuries or illness. This year’s team could've finished anywhere from No. 1 through No. 35 and there were matches we played like we were No. 1 and others at No. 35. Regardless I'm content about our level this year and confident it was a step forward for our overall program. Although we lost four seniors, we have four crucial members returning and a fresh bunch of freshman.”
For the first time since 2015, the Frogs had a singles player earn a final Oracle/ITA ranking with Seda Arantekin checking in at No. 58. The senior posted 19 wins in her final season with TCU and defeated three ranked opponents. Arantekin was stellar in the NCAA Tournament for the Frogs by upsetting two straight ranked opponents at the No. 1 spot. Arantekin also earned a year-end doubles ranking for the third straight season as her and Olaya Garrido-Rivas paired up for a No. 37 ranking.
"Seda had a phenomenal year and career,” Walker said. “Not many people understand the place she was at just two to three years ago. She was playing at No. 5 and No. 6, not in great shape, often injured and not really enjoying herself at all on the tennis court. She committed to getting healthy, training hard again and believing in herself to compete with anyone. Now she's sitting as one of the best players to have ever played singles and doubles at TCU, an All-Big12 selection twice and finishing as in the top in the nation in both singles and doubles. I enjoyed coaching her throughout her career and appreciate her ability to digest information quickly and execute at a high level.”
The highest final individual ranking the team received came on the doubles side with Garrido-Rivas pairing up with Donika Bashota for a No. 24 ranking. The duo, who earned an at-large big to the NCAA Doubles Championship, posted 10 wins this season with five of the victories coming over ranked opponents. The pair entered the postseason with a 7-2 mark at the No. 1 position and riding a seven-match winning streak. Garrido-Rivas and Bashota are the first doubles pair to finish ranked inside the top-25 since 2015.
“Olaya and Donika showed off their incredible athleticism and firepower on several occasions against the nation’s best,” Walker said. “For them to finish in the top 25 is a great accomplishment. We all wish that their postseason run would have been something more positive, but that's the way it goes sometimes. Seda and Olaya were able to play most of the Big 12 season together, and it's nice to see they also got rewarded for their passionate and explosive play. Had they had all year to play together I'm confident that also would've been in the top 25."
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