Women’s tennis drops second, third match in a row in Colorado

Junior Amina St. Hill returns a volley to Oklahoma's Emma Devine in St. Hill's defeat of Devine and K-State's loss to the Sooners at the Mike Goss Tennis Stadium Mar. 28, 2014. (Parker Robb | The Collegian)

K-State women’s tennis fell on tough times over the weekend in Colorado, dropping matches to Colorado and Air Force.

Despite moving to 2-3 on the season after an excellent 2-0 start, head coach Danielle Steinberg said she was pleased with her team’s individual efforts this weekend.

“Individually, some players stepped up and responded to what was put on them,” Steinberg said. “Palma (Juhasz) played great tennis this weekend. She showed that she can compete with everyone even though she lost those matches. We know that we can count on her to fill positions if we need her to. Amina (St. Hill) has been rock solid for us. Wherever we put her in the lineup and whoever she plays against, we know what we’re getting.”

On Saturday, K-State faced Colorado in Boulder. The Buffaloes upset the No. 66-ranked Wildcats 4-0, taking three of the points in two sets. With the defeat, K-State fell to a 24-41 all-time against the Pac-12 Conference.

Sunday’s match in Colorado Springs proved more competitive. K-State fell to Air Force 4-3, moving to 11-34 all-time against Mountain West Conference teams.

The Wildcats were able to come out with the doubles point Sunday after a 6-4 victory by sophomore Livia Cirnu and Juhasz, and a 6-3 victory for Maria Panaite and Riley Nizzi.

In singles play, K-State captured wins from sophomore Iva Bago and St. Hill at number two and five singles. Air Force captured the deceive win with a three-set singles match.

K-State was once again without its No. 1 singles player in sophomore Sara Castellanos. The Italy product was pulled from the lineup last weekend with an injury. Steinberg said her absence this weekend was merely precautionary.

“It’s a long season and we’re being cautious instead of pushing her through this weekend,” Steinberg said. “We’re looking at her long-term health and wanted to rest her this weekend with hopes of having her next weekend. It’s tough without her in the lineup just because everyone looks up to her and they don’t plan for her to not be there. It’s a little tough for everyone, but that shouldn’t be an excuse.”

Steinberg also said the weekend schedule was not ideal, though it was hardly to blame for the back-to-back defeats. K-State traveled nearly 100 miles between sites for the separate meets.

“Our schedule is something that I inherited and is nothing I would choose,” Steinberg said. “It is what it is and we have to deal with it. This weekend, as far as travel and time between matches, is definitely the toughest we’ll experience this year. Everything from now on should be a little bit easier. We finished a match at 8 p.m. and then we were on the court again at 7 a.m. the next day. It should not be a reason or a crutch for us losing both matches this weekend.”

Up next for K-State a trip back to California — this time in Fresno, California — to face San Francisco and Fresno State next weekend.