Kentucky Drops First Match, Makes Comeback in the Second
LEXINGTON, Ky.– No. 53 Kentucky (7-6, 1-3 SEC) took a mid-day 2-4 defeat to No. 16 Tennessee (11-2, 4-0 SEC) to open the Sunday doubleheader at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center but found a 5-2 victory in the second match of the day against Bellarmine (3-11).
The Cats have only secured one Southeastern Conference win so far in the spring season, but have fought hard in hopes of earning another conference score. The bulk of Kentucky’s spring wins have come from successful contests against non-conference opponents.
Starting the day against the Vols, the Wildcats struggled to clinch the doubles point. Kentucky’s pair of Zoe Hammond and Ellie Eades were the first to fall in doubles competition to Tennessee’s Catherine Aulia and Elza Tomase. The Vols took the point as Court 2’s Eleonora Molinaro and Daria Kuczer defeated Florencia Urrutia and Makayla Mills.
With singles play starting down one for UK, the Wildcats did not give up the fight. Eades fell quickly to UT’s No. 37-ranked Kuczer on Court 3 with Stevens finding a swift defeat on Court 2 to No. 57 Tomase.
However, No. 74 Urrutia got a tough point on the board for the Cats with her impressive rally on Court 1. Falling in the first set to No. 31 Rebeka Mertena, 3-6, the senior was ready to go in the second. Taking the second set in stride, Urrutia was victorious, 7-5. Leaving the third set to decide the point, Urrutia put it in gear as she broke through with a 6-2 win overcoming her higher-ranked opponent. The strong effort put the Cats in contention only down two.
Over on Court 4, junior Lidia Gonzalez endured a tough battle of her own to grab another point for the Cats. Going head-to-head with Tennessee’s Aulia. Like Urrutia on Court 1, Gonzalez fell to the Vols in her first set, 4-6. However, she did not let the first set determine her fate as she rallied to a victory in the second set, 7-5. With the overall score 3-1, Gonzalez gave it her all to find a win in the third set. In a match that lasted nearly three hours, the junior was able to notch it up one on the scoreboard for UK bringing the score within one.
Kentucky gave the contest an impressive effort but fell to Tennessee after No. 5 Singles went to UT’s Esther Adeshina who defeated freshman Hammond leaving No. 6 Singles unfinished.
Taking the loss in stride, Kentucky still had one more opportunity to get a nod in the winners’ column of the spring record. Looking to the next match against in-state opponent Bellarmine, the Cats headed into the second round of the Sunday doubleheader and final match of the weekend homestand.
The Wildcats began the second match of the day winning the second doubles point of the weekend and first of the day. UK’s Eades and Hammond wasted no time on Court 3 with a fast defeat of the Knight’s Hanley Riner and Cydney Rogers. Court 1 was left unfinished as the pair of Urrutia and Mills clinched the doubles point over Lailaa Bashir and Shu Grosso putting the Cats up 1-0.
Singles play began with another point Kentucky as Mills defeated her opponent, Hanley, in two sets 6-4, 6-1. With a shuffle of the lineup, Kentucky then forfeited its No. 6 Singles giving Bellarmine a point on the board and individual win for Channing Varnum.
The score was set at 2-1 Kentucky as Carlota Molina fought for another Wildcat point on Court 3. Her battle against Rogers resulted in a successful 6-4, 6-3 defeat at No. 3 Singles. However, Bellarmine’s Bashir was able to catch one for the Knights as she notched the score within one by her two-set defeat over Eades.
Over on Court 1, Urrutia secured her second singles victory of the day by defeating Ekaterina Tikhonko in a three set fight. Taking the first set 6-4, the senior then fell in the second 4-6. With the decision on the line in the third set, Urrutia dug deep to get the win ending the final set 6-3. Maialen Morante, at No. 5 Singles, sealed the deal for Kentucky with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Bellarmine’s Grosso.
The Wildcats will continue the spring campaign on the road next Friday in Columbia, S.C. to take on the Gamecocks (6-6, 1-2 SEC).
Kentucky vs. Tennessee
UK 2, UT 4
1 Carlota Molina and Elizabeth Stevens (UK) vs.n Esther Adeshina and Rebeka Mertena (UT) 4-4 (unfinished)
2 Daria Kuczer and Eleonora Molinaro (UT) def. Mills and Florencia Urrutia (UK) 6-2
3 Catherine Aulia and Elza Tomase (UT) def. Ellie Eades and Zoe Hammond (UK) 6-2
1 #74 Florencia Urrutia (UK) def. #31 Rebeka Mertena (UT) 3-6, 7-5, 6-2
2 #57 Elza Tomase (UT) def. Elizabeth Stevens (UK) 6-3, 6-3
3 #37 Daria Kuczer (UT) def. Ellie Eades (UK) 6-4, 6-0
4 Lidia Gonzalez (UK) def. Catherine Aulia (UT) 4-6, 7-5, 7-5
5 Esther Adeshina (UT) def. Zoe Hammond (UK) 7-6, 7-5
6 Makayla Mills (UK) vs. Lauren Anzalotta (UT) 7-5, 0-6, 0-3 unfinished
Order of finish:
Doubles – 3, 2
Singles – 3, 2, 1, 4, 5
Kentucky vs. Bellarmine
UK 5, BU 2
1 Carlota Molina and Elizabeth Stevens (UK) vs. Vendula Kryslova and Ekaterina Tikhonko (BU) 4-5 unfinsihed
2 Makayla Mills and Florencia Urrutia (UK) def. Lailaa Bashir and Shu Grosso (BU) 6-3
3 Ellie Eades and Zoe Hammond (UK) def. Hanley Riner and Cydney Rogers (BU) 6-2
1 #74 Florencia Urrutia (UK) def. Ekaterina Tikhonko (BU) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
2 Lailaa Bashir (BU) def. Ellie Eades (UK) 7-5, 6-0
3 Carlota Molina (UK) def. Cydney Rogers (BU) 6-4, 6-3
4 Makayla Mills (UK) def. Hanley Riner (BU) 6-4, 6-1
5 Maialen Morante (UK) def. Shu Grosso (BU) 6-1, 6-0
6 Channing Varnum (BU) def. TEAM (UK) – forfeit
Order of finish:
Doubles – 3, 2
Singles – 4, 6, 3, 2, 1, 5
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