Tennis continues winning in Arizona over the weekend

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Junior Margot Decker rallies the ball back to her teammate during practice. (Archive Photo by Brooke Barrett | Collegian Media Group)

Already riding a two-game winning streak, the tennis team (5-2) swept North Texas (5-2) on Saturday afternoon 7-0. They defeated Arizona (3-2) in a nail-biter on Sunday 4-3, taking the final set, thanks to the heroics of junior Maria Linares.

After going up 3-1 in the match against Arizona, Kansas State dropped two straight matches, creating a winner-take-all situation in the No. 1 spot match between Linares and junior Talyla Zandberg.

Things looked grim early on for Linares — she was in a hole from the start, going down in the first set 4-6. Linares was not going to go down without a fight and sent the match into a decisive third set after taking the second set 6-3.

Linares came in clutch in the third set, defeating Zandberg 7-5, giving K-State the 4-3 victory and extending their win streak to four straight games.

The Wildcats started off the match well before Linares. They took the doubles portion, thanks to victories by the duo of Linares and sophomore Karine-Marion Job over senior Marie Van Aelst and sophomore Kirsten Prelle 6-3 in the No.1 spot, and then the junior pair of Margot Decker and Anna Turco took down junior Gitte Heynemans and sophomore Khim Iglupas by a score of 7-5 in the No. 2 spot.

K-State and Arizona went back and forth in the singles portion — each time K-State seemed to get ahead, Arizona found a way to creep back into things. Two-zero victories by Decker over Arizona senior Abby Amos, and redshirt sophomore Rosanna Maffei over Iglupas, paved the way for K-State, putting Linares in the position to take the match.

Before the thriller against Arizona, K-State also faced off against North Texas on Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats were familiar with this foe, having defeated them in four-consecutive seasons heading into the match.

The Wildcats took care of business, sweeping North Texas for their fifth-consecutive victory against the Mean Green, 7-0. Linares and Job defeated the pair of senior Alexandra Heczey and freshman Hala Khaled Badwy 6-0 while senior Ines Mesquita and junior Lilla Barzo defeated the freshman pair of Kexuan Zhou and Sophia Hummel 6-2 to take the doubles portion of the match.

Singles play was also dominated by the Wildcats, sweeping the competition with only one match going into three sets, where Turco defeated sophomore Maria Ponomareva by scores of 4-6, 7-5 and 1-0.

Barzo and Job both took their matches 6-3, 6-1 over their competition of Zhou and Hummel in the No. 5 and No. 6 positions. Maffei then made easy work of Badwy 6-2, 6-2 in the No. 4 position before Linares and Turco finished out the match with victories over Heczey 7-5, 6-1 and junior Nidhi Surapaneni 6-4, 6-2 in the No. 1 and No. 2 positions.

With the victories over the weekend, K-State improved to 5-2 overall on the season and will be riding a lot of momentum going into their big home match against Washington (7-2) on Friday at 2 p.m.

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