Jacobs, Paražinskaite, D. Tkachenko To Use Extra Year of Eligibility, Return for 2020-21 Season
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Three Kentucky women’s tennis players, Lesedi Jacobs, Akvile Paražinskaite and Diana Tkachenko, have decided to accept the additional year of eligibility granted to spring-sport student-athletes and will return to the program next season.
On March 20, the Division I Council voted to allow schools to provide spring-sport student-athletes an additional season of competition and an extension of their period of eligibility. Senior Anastasia Tkachenko will forgo her extra year of eligibility as she explores options to further pursue her education.
Jacobs ended the season performing at the peak of her career before it was cut short because of the CoVID-19 public health threat, going undefeated in the Southeastern Conference. She put together a flawless 3-0 singles record and a spotless 4-0 doubles record in the conference, while competing against the league’s toughest competition on the No. 1 singles court. While Jacobs has achieved success in the singles competition throughout the season, she undoubtedly shines in the doubles competition. Jacobs put together one of the best doubles records this season in program laurels, achieving a 21-2 doubles record through fall and spring action. Meanwhile, she won two doubles championships in the fall, winning 10 straight doubles matches with Paražinskaite, to earn an automatic spot in the ITA Fall Nationals Main Doubles Draw and an at-large spot in the ITA Fall Nationals Main Singles Draw. She ended the season ranked 27th in the Oracle ITA National Women’s Doubles Rankings paired with Paražinskaite.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has placed some uncertainty in many of our lives, I find clarity in my decision to return to Kentucky for an additional year. I’m glad to announce my decision to return to UK, and what is soon to be a wonderful new chapter in my life, not only as a Big Blue athlete, but also as a graduate student. I’m looking forward to reuniting with my UK family soon and embarking on this new adventure.”
Paražinskaite had an impressive fall season in 2019, boasting a 5-2 singles record and a 10-1 doubles record. In the process, she collected two doubles championships and earned automatic entry into the ITA Fall National Main Doubles Draw. There, Paražinskaite and Jacobs reached the Round of 16 after defeating the No. 20-ranked pair in the nation, before falling to the No. 1 seed in the tournament. In 2020, the Lithuania native competed on the No. 1 singles court throughout the regular season before moving to the No. 2 singles court for confection action. Last season, Paražinskaite earned an invitation to the 2019 NCAA Doubles Championships with former-teammate Justina Mikulskyte, and the pair reached as high as No. 13 in the Oracle ITA National Women’s Doubles Rankings.
“Hey BBN! I’m excited to announce that I have made the decision to represent Kentucky women’s tennis team for one more year. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to train and compete another year, and I’m looking forward to one last ride with you all! Go Cats!”
Tkachenko put together a solid 10-4 record in singles and an 8-3 mark in doubles (paired with Carlota Molina and Carla Girbau) during the 2019 fall action. During the dual season, Tkachenko crafted a 6-6 singles record, including a 2-2 singles record in the conference, competing mostly on the No. 5 singles court. In the doubles competition during the dual season, she put together a 5-6 doubles record, including a 1-1 doubles record in the conference, paired with freshman Carlota Molina.
“Ever since I transferred to Kentucky, I knew I belonged here,” said Tkachenko. “The way this season ended was heartbreaking for my teammates and I but being offered an extra year to play college tennis was a rare and uplifting opportunity. There is no other team in the world I’d rather represent than UK! Therefore, I am excited to return for another year and to finish what was started of my senior year. Go Cats!”
For the latest on the Kentucky women’s tennis program, follow @UKWomensTennis on Twitter and on Instagram, on Facebook and on the web at UKathletics.com.