Women's Tennis Prepped to Host No. 21 Oklahoma, No. 7 Texas

by Logan Hasselbach

ORLANDO – On the heels of its first Big 12 Conference win in Fort Worth, Texas, the UCF women’s tennis team returns home to face No. 21 Oklahoma and No. 7 Texas this weekend. The Knights will host their first Kids Day of the season against the Sooners Friday, with clinics beginning at 4:30 p.m. and the match kicking off at 6 p.m. The Longhorns come to town Sunday, with first serve slated for noon.


In their first road trip of the Big 12 play season, the Knights split the decisions, falling in a tight 4-2 battle against Baylor and emerging victorious over TCU, 4-3. Jantje Tilbuerger and Anique Kattenerg notched the two singles points for the Knights against Baylor, both in dominant, straight-set fashion. Kattenberg’s 6-4, 6-3 victory at court five was her second win of the season and first at the fifth singles position. Tilbuerger kept her spot in the win column against Baylor with a 6-3, 6-2 at court four. Tilbuerger has not dropped a match since Feb. 18 against Wisconsin.

After falling down 3-0 against TCU, the squad rallied back in dominant proportion to clinch the match 4-3. UCF won four consecutive singles courts to earn its first Big 12 match as a member of the conference. Sophia Biolay got the Knights on the board at court two with her fifth-consecutive singles victory, a 6-3, 6-0 decision. Tilbuerger finished not long after at position four to put the Knights within one of tying the match. The 6-4, 6-4 victory marked the sophomore’s third-straight win, a season high. Kattenberg was next in line to add a tally to the board. The redshirt-junior fell in her first set but was not content with a loss, coming back to take the second and third sets. The 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 battle tied the match at three points all. Noel Saidenova clinched the match for the Knights with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 fight at court three. The victory marked her seventh singles win of the season.


With an undefeated weekend, Biolay, who is ranked No. 106 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, remains at her career-high singles poll ranking. The straight-set, 6-3, 6-0 win at court two versus Isabel Pascual of TCU marked her fifth-straight singles win, the longest active streak by a Knight. The junior is also tied with Saidenova for most singles wins on the team with seven. With the win over TCU, UCF jumped four spots in the ITA team poll to No. 57.


Oklahoma enters the matchup with a 7-4 record, on a two-match win streak after taking down Cincinnati and West Virginia at home last weekend. The Sooners have taken the doubles point in five-straight matches, headlined by the two ranked doubles pairings in No. 22 Roisin Gilheany and Dana Guzman, and No. 63 Julia Garcia Ruiz and Zdena Safarova.

Singles players No. 33 Garcia Ruiz, No. 42 Dana Guzman, No. 43 Florencia Urrutia and No. 72 Alina Shcherbinina call Norman, Oklahoma, home. Garcia Ruiz is undefeated in the dual-match season, with nine wins, dropping just two sets in the completed matches.

The Knights and the Sooners have already met once this season, in the opening round of the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Norman, Oklahoma. The then-No. 16 Sooners took the match 4-0 and lead the all-time series 1-6.


Texas owns a 10-3 overall record on the 2024 dual-match season and a 3-0 record in conference play. The Longhorns have taken down Oklahoma, West Virginia and Cincinnati thus far in the conference season and travel to Houston before arriving at the USTA National Campus. The squad advanced to the second round of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships before falling to eventual-champions Oklahoma State., 4-3.

Texas has three ranked singles players in the form of No. 20 Sabina Zeynalova, No. 21 Malaika Rapolu and No. 39 Tanya Sasnouskaya. The 17th-ranked doubles pairing of Taisiya Pachkaleva and Zeynalova, the 46th-ranked duo of Sasnouskaya and Zeynalova, the 74th-ranked tandem of Charlotte Chavatipon and Sasnouskaya and the 78th-ranked partnership of Rapolu and Vivian Ovrootsky also don the Orange and White.

The teams have met just twice before, with Texas taking both of the matches.