Wildcat tennis team drops Sunflower Showdown in Lawrence


At the long-awaited Sunflower Showdown, the Kansas State tennis team fell 7-0 to the No. 20 Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence on Saturday afternoon.

After the loss, the Wildcats concluded their regular season with a record of 12-10 overall and 2-7 in the Big 12 Conference. By contrast, KU is 16-4 overall, 7-2 in the Big 12.

The Wildcats were not able to hold onto their two-match winning streak, with their loss propelling the Jayhawks to five wins in a row and an undefeated 11-0 home record in the regular season.

KU picked up the first point of the match during the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles competitions.

The Jayhawk doubles pairing of Janet Koch and Nina Khmelnitckaia, who are currently ranked No. 3 in the country, defeated K-State’s sophomore duo of Margot Decker and Anna Turco on court one with a score of 6-2.

Court three followed next, with the Jayhawks defeating the K-State’s freshman Ioana Gheorghita and sophomore Maria Linares.

The No. 2 doubles competition did not finish due to Big 12 clinching rules, leaving KU with the doubles point uncontested.

As the competition moved into singles play, the Jayhawks comfortably picked up wins, starting at the No. 6 court — KU’s Maria Toran Ribes defeated Gheorghita 6-4, 6-0.

The No. 5 singles competition followed next, with junior Ines Mesquita falling to Khmelnitckaia 6-1, 6-2.

The No. 1 court was also a victory for the Jayhawks, with the No. 26 ranked singles player in the country, KU’s Anastasia Rychagova, beating Linares 6-2, 6-1.

The rest of the singles matches were very close, but the Wildcats were not able to capitalize on any momentum.

On the No. 2 court, K-State’s Turco battled it out with Koch, the No. 96 ranked singles player in the U.S., but lost in a third-set tiebreaker 6-3, 2-6, 11-9.

In No. 3 singles, Decker was defeated by KU’s Plobrung Plipuech 6-1, 7-6 (7-4).

The last singles match of the day, No. 4 singles, was between freshman Karine-Marion Job and KU’s Sonia Smagina. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Smagina grabbed the win with a score of 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).

With the regular Big 12 season completed for the Wildcats, they are currently in eighth place in the Big 12 standings, ahead of only Iowa State, Baylor and West Virginia. The Texas Longhorns are currently in first place, having not dropped a match during conference play.

The Wildcats will be back in Lawrence to compete in the Big 12 Tournament starting on Thursday at the Jayhawk Tennis Center.