Kentucky Women's Tennis Falls 4-3 to No. 48 Penn State

Feb. 3, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky women’s tennis team recorded its first loss of the season in heartbreaking fashion Sunday morning at the Lexington Tennis Club, dropping the match-deciding fourth point in the third set of the final singles match to fall 4-3 to No. 48 Penn State.

“We played well for the majority of this match but at this level and to be able to start beating teams in the Top 50 you have to be able to close out matches,” UK head coach Carlos Drada said. “We had a lot of opportunities; we had great momentum after winning the first set. We were up in a lot of sets but we were not able to capitalize.”

The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead with solid play in doubles.

In the No. 3 doubles slot, Penn State grabbed an early advantage with an 8-4 win but junior Cece Witten and sophomore Edmée Morin-Kougoucheff helped the Wildcats bounce back with an 8-4 win in the No. 2 doubles slot over Jacqueline Zuhse and Katherine Whiteaway.

With the doubles matches locked at 1-1, the doubles point came down to the outcome of court one. Junior Caitlin McGraw stepped up for the Wildcats, drilling an ace down the line to seal the No. 1 doubles match and clinch the doubles point for Kentucky.

The drama continued over into singles action as both teams fought neck and neck.

Freshman Nadia Ravita added to her young, yet impressive collegiate career. The Jakarta, Indonesia, native knocked off Petra Januskova, ranked No. 27 nationally in the ITA’s Preseason Individual Rankings, in two quick sets, 6-3, 6-1. Ravita, ranked No. 78, improves her career record to 4-0 in singles play with the win.

Down 2-0, the Nittany Lions came roaring back to claim a 3-2 lead. Jacqueline Zuhse was the first to tally a point for Penn State with her three-set win over Kentucky freshman Kirsten Lewis. Going down in the first set 7-5, Lewis dominated the second set 6-1 but Zuhse ran away with a 6-0 win in the third set.

Devan McCluskey of Penn State took the No. 3 singles slot in two sets but Edmée Morin-Kougoucheff fought deep into both sets, falling 7-5 and 7-6. Senior Jessica Stiles took Chelsea Utting into three sets but Utting pulled out the win to give Penn State a 3-2 lead.

With McGraw and Sandor battling into three sets, Fox took the court to face Whiteaway in the No. 6 singles slot. The sophomore blew through the match, winning 6-1, 6-1 to bring the match to a tie at 3-3.

Down 5-2 in the third set, McGraw battled back to tie it at 5-5 and attempt to pull off the come from behind win from the No. 5 singles slot. Sandor resisted and responded with back-to-back games to win the third set and give Penn State its fourth and match-winning point.

“We just have to get more motivated and play better next time around,” Drada said. “We competed a lot better than we have in the past but we still have to compete better mentally. It is a learning process and I’m glad it’s still early in the season where we are playing at this level and able to learn these kinds of lessons.”

Kentucky will return to the court Feb. 9, in New Orleans, La., against Tulane.

1. Nadia Ravita (UK) def. Petra Januskova (PSU) 6-3, 6-1
2. Chelsea Utting (PSU) def. Jessica Stiles (UK) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3)
3. Devan McCluskey (PSU) def. Edmée Morin-Kougoucheff (UK) 7-5, 8-6
4. Jacqueline Zuhse (PSU) def. Kirsten Lewis (UK) 7-5, 1-6, 6-0
5. Carmen Sandor (PSU) def. Caitlin McGraw (UK) 2-6, 6-2, 7-5*
6. Stephanie Fox (UK) def. Katherine Whiteaway (PSU) 6-1, 6-1

1. Caitlin McGraw/Nadia Ravita (UK) def. Petra Januskova/Chelsea Utting (PSU) 8-6*
2. CeCe Witten/Edmée Morin-Kougoucheff (UK) def. Jacqueline Zuhse/Katherine Whiteaway (PSU) 8-4
3. Carmen Sandor/Devan McCluskey (PSU) def. Jessica Stiles/ Stephanie Fox (UK) 8-4

Match Notes:
Kentucky 3-1
Penn State 4-0
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2, 1*); Singles (1, 4, 3, 2, 6, 5*)