Women's Tennis
Kentucky Splits Wednesday Doubleheader

Kentucky Splits Wednesday Doubleheader

by Ben Slack

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky Women’s Tennis team split matches against Cincinnati and Marshall on Wednesday at the Hillary J. Boone Indoor Tennis Center. The Wildcats started the day by defeating Cincinnati, 6-1, before falling in the second match of the day to Marshall, 4-3. Today’s results move Kentucky’s record to 4-2. Both of Kentucky’s losses have been by one point.

Florencia Urrutia shined once again for the Wildcats, winning all four of her matches. In doubles, she, and partner Makayla Mills, won both of their matches without dropping a game. In singles, Urrutia only dropped three games on her way to two wins. Sophomore Ellie Eades also won both of her singles contests.

The first contest of the day featured a pair of rivals separated by just 83 miles of Interstate 75. Leading off with doubles action, the Wildcats jumped on top of the Bearcats with easy wins at No. 1 and No. 3 Doubles. Florencia Urrutia and Makayla Mills won their first match of the season on the first court in dominant fashion, keeping their Cincinnati opponents off the scoreboard. The doubles point was secured by first-time pairing of Maialen Morante and Elizabeth Stevens. The duo knocked off the Bearcats 6-3 to hand Kentucky a 1-0 lead in the match.

Playing in front, Kentucky would waste no time to expand its advantage. Urrutia, Mills, and Zoe Hammond would all race out to fast wins at No. 2, 3, and 4 Singles, respectively. Urrutia would race out to knock off Cassie McLay of Cincinnati, 6-1, 6-1. The victory was the third of year with that score line for the senior from Santa Fe, Argentina. Two points away from victory, Kentucky would clinch the dual with simultaneous victories from Mills and Hammond. Mills would defeat Maria Santilli, 6-2, 6-2, in her first appearance on the third court this season.

To secure the win for the Wildcats, Hammond, a true freshman, claimed the first match of her collegiate career at No. 4 Singles, a 6-1, 6-3 defeat over Kelli Niehaus. Despite racing out to a 6-1 win in the first set, junior Elizabeth Stevens would fall in singles for the first time this year, losing to All-AAC performer Elizabeth Pendergast. The final two points for the Cats were taken in shortened, pro-set matches at No. 5 and No. 6 Singles. Ellie Eades saw victory for the first time this year with an easy, 8-3 win, while Morante claimed an 8-5 win to close out the match.

The doubleheader was capped off with another regional matchup, pitting the homestanding Cats against the Thundering Herd of Marshall. Kentucky claimed the doubles point for the fifth time in six matches to take the upper hand. Sending out the same lineup as the morning matinee, it was once again Courts 1 & 3 that sealed the deal for Kentucky. Urrutia and Mills continued their undefeated start to 2023 with another 6-0 win at No. 1 Doubles. Their performance was followed up with a clinching, 6-2 victory at No. 3 Doubles by Morante and Stevens.

The match moved into singles play, where Marshall was defaulted a point at No. 6 Singles due to Kentucky injury. However, Urrutia continued her dominant day. The Argentinian was able to roll through Marshall’s Doroteja Joksovic, 6-0, 6-1 in a forty-eight-minute match, retaking the lead for the Cats at 2-1. The contest marked the first time this season that Urrutia played at No. 1 Singles.

Marshall was able tie the match again, as Emma Vanderhayden, an All-Conference USA Freshman team selection from a year ago, handed Kentucky Freshman Zoe Hammond her first defeat of the season at No. 3 Singles. Previously, Hammond had started her collegiate career with a 5-0 record, winning matches at No. 4, 5, and 6 Singles.

Kentucky was able to reclaim momentum with a win at No. 4 Singles, as Ellie Eades claimed her second victory of the day with a 6-3, 6-2 victory against Marshall’s Gabrielle Clairotte. Marshall would once again tie the match following a marathon match at No. 2 Singles. Playing on the court for the first time this year, Mills was able to claim the first set for the Wildcats, but the Herd would come thundering back. Marshall’s Johanna Strom would win the final two sets to take a match that would last over two and a half hours. With the score even at three, the dual would come down to No. 5 Singles. Senior Maialen Morante fought hard to force a third set, before falling to Marshall’s Sophia Hurrion. The victory on Court 5 gave Marshall the 4-3 win in the overall dual contest.

Kentucky will enjoy an extended rest period before its next match, returning to action on Saturday, Feb. 11 in the team’s first road contest of 2023. The Wildcats will take on the Nittany Lions of Penn State at the Sarni Tennis Center in University Park, Pa., with play beginning at 10 a.m. Fans can follow along with live stats, or by tuning in on PlaySight.



Kentucky vs. Cincinnati


Mills/Urrutia (UK) def. McLay/Pendergast (UC) 6-0

Eades/Hammond (UK) vs. Niehaus/Santilli (UC) 4-5 (unfinished)

Morante/Stevens (UK) def. Bruno/Flanagan (UC) 6-3



Pendergast (UC) def. Elizabeth Stevens (UK) 1-6, 6-3, 6-4

Florencia Urrutia (UK) def. McLay (UC) 6-1, 6-1

Makayla Mills (UK) def. Santilli (UC) 6-2, 6-2

Zoe Hammond (UK) def. Niehaus (UC) 6-1, 6-3

Ellie Eades (UK) def. Flanagan (UC) 8-3

Maialen Morante (UK) def. Ferguson (UC) 8-5


Order of Finish:

Doubles—1, 3

Singles—2, 3, 4, 1, 5, 6


Kentucky vs. Marshall


Mills/Urrutia (UK) def. Strom/Vanderheyden (MU) 6-0

Eades/Hammond (UK) vs. Clairotte/Lopicic (MU) 2-4 (unfinished)

Morante/Stevens (UK) def. Joksovic/McGrane (MU) 6-2



Florencia Urrutia (UK) def. Joksovic (MU) 6-1, 6-1

Strom (MU) def. Makayla Mills (UK) 2-6, 6-2, 7-5

Vanderheyden (MU) def. Zoe Hammond (UK) 6-2, 6-1

Ellie Eades (UK) def. Clairotte (MU) 6-3, 6-2

Hurrion (MU) def. Maialen Morante (UK) 6-1, 4-6, 6-3

Lopicic (MU) def. Lidia Gonzalez (UK) by default


Order of Finish:

Doubles—1, 3

Singles—1, 3, 4, 2, 5


For the latest on UK Women’s Tennis, follow the Wildcats on Twitter and Instagram at @UKWomensTennis.

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