K-State women’s tennis puts a cork on its first fall season under Steinberg in Texas

Freshman Laura Hopton returns a volley during practice Oct. 22 at the Mike Goss Tennis Stadium. (Parker Robb | The Collegian)

As K-State women’s tennis prepares to move past its fall season of competition, head coach Danielle Steinberg was very pleased with how her roster competed in Houston, Texas over the weekend.

“Beyond our attitude, we played really good tennis today and this past weekend,” Steinberg said in K-State Athletics’ Sunday night release. “We see really impressive improvements from August, and that gets us very excited for January and the spring season to start.”

The team finished with a 46-35 mark in singles play and 13-21 in doubles this fall.

Steinberg said she plans to give the players a bit of a break after a long fall.

“We are going to give the girls a little break and then start building again and get even better,” Steinberg said. “We have a long road ahead of us, but we are hungry and ready to work for it. Overall, K-State picked up 14 singles and three doubles wins, including at five singles wins each of the last two days of competition.”

On Friday, the Wildcats opened up competition against Houston, Prairie View A&M; and Northwestern State.

Freshman Laura Hopton ended a personal four-match losing streak over Prairie View A&M;’s Stacy Lackey, 6-0, 6-2.

In the second day of action, the Wildcats faced TCU, Iowa State and Prairie View A&M.; K-State finished 6-2 in singles and 1-3 in doubles on Saturday.

“We definitely see improvements from everyone every time we step on the court,” Steinberg said. “Comparing today to our first fall tournaments, we see huge strides from every player, both in the tennis level and in our attitude. If we keep up the hard work and belief, we will keep getting better and better.”

The duo of sophomore Livia Cirnu and Hopton coined their second doubles win over Maria Lackey and Sydney Thomas of Prairie View A&M;, 8-4.

In singles, the Wildcats picked up six wins each from separate players, including sophomore Palma Juhasz with her fourth-straight win.

“Palma has been playing great tennis the past month,” Steinberg said. “She’s been working very hard and it’s great to see her not only improving but also being able to capitalize on it and getting those wins.”

On its final day of competition in Houston, K-State tennis faced Rice and Louisiana Tech. The Wildcats finished with a 5-3 record in singles and a 1-3 record in doubles.

Steinberg was pleased with the results from the third day in Houston.

“I am so proud of the way we competed today,” Steinberg said. “Rice is a top team and win or lose, we were fighting for every ball and point on every court. That’s exactly the mentality I want my team to have every time we step on the court.”

Hopton and Cirnu capped off their perfect 3-0 record in doubles. Hopton also picked up a 3-0 record in her singles matches, improving to 6-5 overall this fall with K-State.

Sophomore Sara Castellano registered an upset win over Rice’s Katherine Ip, who came into the weekend ranked No. 73. This win ended a three-match losing streak for Castellano and closed her fall season out with a 7-5 record.

Senior Amina St. Hill won six of her last seven matches this fall, which included a 2-1 mark over the weekend.

Following the preparation in the upcoming months, K-State will kick off their spring schedule on Jan. 17 against Northern Iowa at Mike Goss Tennis Stadium.