No. 15 Kentucky Holds Off Marshall, Middle Tennessee State
The 15th-ranked University of Kentucky women’s tennis team swept its second doubleheader in six days, earning a pair of 5-2 victories Saturday over No. 69 Marshall and Middle Tennessee State at UK’s Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex. The Cats jump to 4-0 in dual-match play.
The Cats’ morning match with Marshall began with a hotly-contested doubles affair. After freshman Sarah Foster and junior Aibika Kalsarieva tallied an easy victory over the 14th-ranked doubles pair of Jessica Johnson and Ashley Kroh, Marshall earned a win at No. 3, giving new meaning to the match at the No. 2 slot. UK freshmen Lara Maurer and Joelle Schwenk recovered from a late deficit to force a tiebreaker. The Kentucky pair took over from there, capturing the Wildcat doubles point with a 7-5 tiebreaker triumph.
Maurer, Kalsarieva and Schwenk each posted easy two-set singles wins to clinch the match for Kentucky. Foster added a win at No. 2 for the final Kentucky score of the match.
In the afternoon tilt with Middle Tennessee State, the Cats once again claimed the doubles point. Foster and Kalsarieva posted their second victory over a ranked opponent in as many matches, defeating the 31st-ranked pair of Manon Kruse and Carien Venter. Freshman Kim Coventry, who had made her Wildcat debut in her previous match, teamed up with fellow freshman Liis Sober to earn the doubles point with an 8-5 win at number three.
At No. 1 singles, MTSU’s 54th-ranked Kruse utilized a blistering forehand to her advantage against UK’s 23rd-ranked Kalsarieva, scoring a 6-1, 6-2 victory to tie the score at one. Maurer soon responded with another two-set victory to put the Cats back on top. Schwenk added a two-setter at No. 3 before the Blue Raiders’ Jenny Klaschka responded with a win at No. 2 to slice the Kentucky lead to 3-2. However, UK freshman Christine Simpson soon put the match out of reach, registering an easy 6-0, 6-3 victory at No. 5 to clinch the match. Coventry contributed her first singles victory as a Wildcat with a 6-0, 7-5 triumph at No. 6 over Emily Vest for the final margin.
“Overall, we turned in some solid performances in what were big tests for us today,” UK Coach Mark Guilbeau said.
“We have asked a lot of these ladies on the court as well as off the court, and today was a good reflection of how this team has been up to the task in reaching its goals. We found our highest level of intensity toward the end of the second match, and that was very rewarding to see.”
The Cats will take a few days off before welcoming three highly-regarded tennis programs to Lexington this coming week. Kentucky meets No. 24 Texas A&M on Friday, Jan. 30, No. 4 Duke on Saturday, Jan. 31 and No. 75 Maryland on Sunday, Feb. 1. Each match will be held at UK’s Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex.
#15 Kentucky 5, #69 Marshall 2 Doubles 1. Foster/Kalsarieva (UK) def. No. 14 Johnson/Kroh (MU) – 8-2 2. Maurer/Schwenk (UK) def. Sukner/Nzudie (MU) – 9-8 (5) 3. Hock/Skalsky (MU) def. Coventry/Simpson (UK) – 8-6 Singles 1. No. 23 Aibika Kalsarieva (UK) def. No. 62 Jessica Johnson (MU) – 6-1, 6-1 2. Sarah Foster (UK) def. Alice Sukner (MU) – 6-3, 6-4 3. Joelle Schwenk (UK) def. Lille Nzudie (MU) – 6-1, 6-0 4. Lara Maurer (UK) def. Ashley Kroh (MU) – 6-1, 6-0 5. Joelle Good (MU) def. Liis Sober (UK) – 6-0, 6-1 6. Danielle Hock (MU) def. Kim Coventry (UK) – 6-4, 6-4 #15 Kentucky 5, Middle Tennessee State 2 Doubles 1. Foster/Kalsarieva (UK) def. No. 31 Kruse/Venter (MTSU) – 8-5 2. McNamara/Klaschka (MTSU) def. Maurer/Schwenk (UK) – 9-7 3. Coventry/Sober (UK) def. Cibils/Williams (MTSU) – 8-5 Singles 1. No. 54 Manon Kruse (MTSU) def. No. 23 Aibika Kalsarieva (UK) – 6-1, 6-2 2. Jenny Klaschka (MTSU) def. Sarah Foster (UK) – 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 3. Joelle Schwenk (UK) def. Carien Venter (MTSU) – 7-5, 6-4 4. Lara Maurer (UK) def. Laura McNamara (MTSU) – 6-3, 6-3 5. Christine Simpson (UK) def. Ana Marie Cibils (MTSU) – 6-0, 6-3 6. Kim Coventry (UK) def. Emily Vest (MTSU) – 6-0, 7-5