Cats Score 12th-Consecutive Win at Auburn, Take Sole Possession of SEC Lead
No. 5 Kentucky relinquished only one set on its way to an easy 6-0 victory over Auburn Friday at the Luther Young Tennis Complex in Auburn. As a result of Kentucky’s victory and Georgia’s loss to Florida, UK assumes sole possession of first place in the Southeastern Conference and in the SEC’s Eastern division. The Cats extended their best-ever start in conference play to 7-0 and picked up their 12th-consecutive victory, improving their record to 18-3.
The teams elected not to play doubles matches given the likelihood of inclement weather later in the day. UK took immediate control of the match, winning each of the first six sets. Sixth-ranked senior Aibika Kalsarieva extended her unbeaten streak to 14 matches at the No. 1 slot after Jelena Jovic retired in the second set due to an injury. Sophomore Christine Simpson made a productive showing in her first SEC start of the season, defeating Auburn’s Erin Gray at the sixth slot by a 6-1, 6-1 count.
At second singles, sophomore Kim Coventry extended the Wildcat lead to 3-0 with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Ashley Cowart. Sophomore Sarah Foster rebounded from a 5-2 second-set deficit to force a tiebreaker, where she prevailed to clinch the match at the third slot. Junior Danielle Petrisko claimed the first set at No. 5 against Sarah Suitor, and after dropping the second set, Petrisko shut out Suitor the rest of the way to give Kentucky a 5-0 lead. Sophomore Lara Maurer preserved the shutout with a 7-6, 7-5 win at the No. 4 slot over Nancy Peaden.
“I’m very pleased with the focus and execution from our team,” UK Coach Mark Guilbeau said. “I was impressed with Auburn and their effort despite some unfortunate adversity. Without two of their best players, they fought us very hard and played a good match.”
Kentucky, who remains atop the SEC standings alongside Georgia, will look to earn its 13th-consecutive win Sunday when the Cats travel to Tuscaloosa to meet Alabama.
No. 5 Kentucky 6, Auburn 0