Lady Raiders Win 2012 Big 12 Championship

Texas Tech women's tennis concluded a historic season on Sunday by defeating Iowa State winning the 2012 Big 12 Regular Season Title.

In the last two seasons when everything was said and done, the Texas Tech women's tennis team found themselves sitting in the lower half of the Big 12 Conference standings. 6th and 7th, respectively.

Unlike the previous two campaigns, the 2011-2012 season has ended much differently for the No. 19 Lady Raiders.

2012 Big 12 Champions.

"It's an award for the girls, man." Petty said. "They've really put in the time, the work. They made the commitment to each other that they were going to be special, they weren't going to be your run of the mill team, they were going to make a difference.

"To see that come in florician today was really special to get to watch them."

With their 5-2 victory on Sunday afternoon at the McCleod Tennis Center against Iowa State, the Lady Raiders got to lift the Big 12 Championship trophy and give their head coach Todd Petty a rewarding, but cold Gatorade bath.

"It was cool, you get into this profession, first you want to develop kids and do those types of things, that's really important to us, but you do it because you want to see those kids have these experiences," Petty said. "For them to obviously give back to me was pretty cool, but I loved to be a part of watching them do that, making history.  It's fun to watch a group of girls like that."

Tech (18-4, 8-1 in Big 12 play) started the season off by going 8-2 in non-conference play, which included wins against then-No.48 Sacramento State, No. 23 Ole Miss, No. 73 Santa Clara, No. 69 Rice, No. 47 Long Beach State and No. 36 UNLV.

With a handful of wins against ranked opponents, the Lady Raiders headed into their first Big 12 match against then-No.12 Baylor, having not beaten the Bears since 2002.

The historic season continued with a 4-3 shocker marking only the second win against Baylor since 1991.

Tech returned to non –conference play solidified in the ITA Top 25 now, and went 3-1 in its final non-conference matches before diving into the heart of the Big 12 portion of their schedule.

The Lady Raiders would rattle off five-straight wins, with their biggest coming on the road upending then-No. 20 Texas A&M 4-3 in College Station.

The win marked the first against the Aggies since 1987, snapping a 27-match losing streak to Texas A&M. 

"It doesn't matter if it's tennis, baseball or football, you've got to have a little luck and we had a little luck along the way, and then played big on the road a couple of times," Petty said. "The chips fell right for us this year, and last year they didn't, they could've, this year they just fell right. The girls took care of business in some spots where there was some pressure on them on the road, so that's what it takes to win a Big 12 title."  

After a loss to Texas, the Lady Raiders needed to just come home and sweep the weekend matches against No. 44 Missouri and Iowa State to clinch a share of the Big 12 title – and they did just that.

Looking back on the season that was for his squad, Petty said the thought of winning a Big 12 title was there, but it was going to take some things falling in place to do so.

  "It definitely exceeded my expectations," Petty said with a smile. "Our number one goal was to make postseason play for the first time, that was our number goal. Obviously the highest finish we've ever had was fourth, so we wanted to improve on that. To sit here and say that we thought we'd win the Big 12 title, we thought we had a chance of, but it was going to take a little luck. It definitely exceeded what we were looking for."

After some celebration, it will be back to the court for the Lady Raiders as next up in their sights is a chance to win the Big 12 Tournament Title.

The tournament starts in College Station on Thursday and runs through Sunday at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.

The Lady Raiders will enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed and will receive a bye on Thursday and begin play on Friday at 9 a.m.

Heading into the tournament Petty said they have to forget about everything that has happened and focus on what lies ahead.

 "It's a brand new season now," he said. "The regular season's done, got to forget about it, let them enjoy this for a couple of days, but you got to forget about it. When tournament time comes it's you play till you lose kind of deal, so it's a little bit of a different situation, you prepare for it maybe a little differently, just mentally, the mindset of it.  

"We're excited, I think they're ready, I think we're peaking at the right time, so hopefully expect us to make a run in the Big 12 Tournament as well."


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