Elizabeth Stevens, Kentucky Hand Purdue First Loss
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.– Kentucky snapped a two-match skid and handed Purdue its first loss of the season en route to a 4-3 victory on the road. Elizabeth Stevens was the hero for the Wildcats, breaking the stalemate with a decisive singles victory.
Playing at the Schwartz Tennis Center in West Lafayette, Ind., the Cats won the doubles point and three singles matches to secure the win. The victory marked the first win of the year in a road match, as well as the team’s first win over a school from a Power Five conference. Kentucky was also able to win a 4-3 match for the first time this year, recovering from two close defeats earlier in the season.
Kentucky opened the match by winning the doubles point for the seventh time in eight matches on the season. The Cats were able to claim the advantage with victories on Courts 1 and 3. Teaming up for the first time this season, Lidia Gonzalez and Florencia Urrutia were the first team to finish, claiming a 6-2 victory at No. 3 Doubles. Seconds later, the Wildcats would clinch thanks to a 6-3 victory at No. 1 Doubles by Stevens and Makayla Mills.
With Kentucky leading 1-0 in the match, the Cats started singles action swiftly, taking the first set on four of the six courts. However, Purdue was able to win back-to-back straight set matches at No. 3 and No. 5 Singles to take a brief 2-1 lead. Sophomore Ellie Eades would bring the Wildcats level with a clinical 6-2, 6-3 win a No. 4 Singles.
Playing on Court No. 1, No. 58 Urrutia would reclaim the Kentucky advantage with a 7-5, 6-4 victory. Purdue would once again tie the match with a win at No. 6, meaning the dual would be decided by the No. 2 Singles Match.
In a tight, back-and-forth contest, Stevens was able to hold strong to seal the victory for the Wildcats. After splitting two close sets, including winning a first-set tiebreaker, the junior from Tigard, Oregon, would hang out to claim the three-set win. Despite racing out to a substantial leading the decider, Stevens dropped two match points at 5-2 and was broken at 5-3. However, she would hold strong and break her Carmen Gallardo Guevara of Purdue to clinch the dual match.
The Wildcats will close their three-match Big Ten road stretch against No. 5 Michigan on Friday, Feb. 24th. The contest will commence at 4:00 p.m. (ET) and take place at the Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.. It will be the first test for the Wildcats against a ranked opponent. Fans can watch and follow along with live stats through MGoBlue.com.
Kentucky vs. Purdue
Mills/Stevens (UK) def. Norman/Milic (PUR) 6-3
Eades/Hammond (UK) vs. Gallardo Guevara/Fodor 4-5 (unfinished)
Gonzalez/Urrutia (UK) def. Larranaga/Gibbs (PUR) 6-2
No. 58 Florencia Urrutia (UK) def. Norman (PUR) 7-5, 6-4
Elizabeth Stevens (UK) def. Gallardo Guevara (PUR) 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4
Fodor (PUR) def. Lidia Gonzalez (UK) 6-1, 6-0
Ellie Eades (UK) def. Milic (PUR) 6-2, 6-3
Gibbs (PUR) def. Makayla Mills (UK) 6-3, 6-1
Zoe Hammond (UK) vs. Larranaga (PUR)
Order of Finish:
Singles—3, 5, 4, 1, 6, 2