Wildcats Fall in First Road Match at Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Kentucky Women’s Tennis team (4-3) fell short in the first road contest of the 2023 campaign, losing to Penn State 4-1 at the Sarni Tennis Center.
In a tightly contested match that lasted nearly four hours, the Wildcats and Nittany Lions battled in close singles and doubles contests, but decisive three-set Penn State victories in singles sealed the win for the home team.
Kentucky started the match strong, claiming wins at No. 2 and No. 3 Doubles to take the opening point of the contest. Penn State started out well on Court 1, with Sofiya Chekhylstova and Carla Girbau claiming a 6-0 victory on the top court over Florencia Urrutia and Makayla Mills. However, the Cats would quickly even up the first phase of the dual with a clinical 6-2 win on Court 2 from Zoe Hammond and Ellie Eades. The doubles point would come down to Court 3, where Maialen Morante and Elizabeth Stevens would resist a Nittany Lion surge to claim victory in the deciding tiebreaker.
In singles action, Penn State jumped out fast to tie the match at one, as No. 50 Chekhylstova claimed victory over Stevens on the top court. Kentucky would win first sets on two of the first four courts, but the Nittany Lions would battle back to push those matches into deciders. Urrutia, ranked No. 58 in the latest ITA rankings, would race out to a 6-2 lead and served for the match before Yvonne Zuffova of Penn State would take the final two frames.
Hammond would also fall short for the Cats at No. 5 Singles. Penn State would clinch the match with a comeback victory at No. 3 Singles. Kentucky’s Lidia Gonzalez would claim the first set in a tie break and had a chance to serve out the match in the third, but Ionna Gheorghita of PSU would ultimately claim the dual match. Eades would also push her No. 4 Singles match to a third set, but two squads did not elect to play out, leaving the contest unfinished.
The Wildcats will continue the three-match Big Ten road stretch against the Purdue Boilermakers on Friday, Feb. 17th. The contest is slated to begin at 3 p.m. with action taking place at the Schwartz Tennis Center in West Lafayette, Ind. Fans can watch the match on PlaySight or follow along with live stats on StatBroadcast.
Kentucky vs. Penn State
Chekhylstova/Girbau (PSU) def. Mills/Urrutia (UK) 6-0
Eades/Hammond (UK) def. Gheorghita/Friedland (PSU) 6-2
Morante/Stevens (UK) def. Nielson/Dorner (PSU) 7-6
#50 Chekhylstova (PSU) def. Elizabeth Stevens (UK) 6-1, 6-4
Zuffova (PSU) def. #58 Florencia Urrutia (UK) 2-6, 7-5, 6-4
Gheorghita (PSU)def. Lidia Gonzales (UK) 6-7, 6-2, 7-5
Ellie Eades (UK) vs. Girbau (PSU) 5-7, 7-5, 4-5 (unfinished)
Dorner (PSU) def. Zoe Hammond (UK) 6-3, 6-4
Maialen Morante (UK) vs. Friedland (PSU) 0-2 (unfinished)
Order of Finish:
Doubles—1, 2, 3
Singles—1, 2, 5, 3
For the latest on UK Women’s Tennis, follow the Wildcats on Twitter and Instagram at @UKWomensTennis.