After a tough 1-4 loss to No. 23 Washington last Friday, the Kansas State tennis team went to Iowa City over the weekend, squaring off with DePaul and Iowa on Saturday and Sunday.
Squaring off with their first Big East opponent of the year on Saturday, K-State had a clutch performance in doubles play to fuel their way through the rest of the match en route to the Wildcats 4-1 victory over DePaul.
A 6-4 victory for the Wildcats in the one spot by the duo of junior Maria Linares and sophomore Karine-Marion Job over sophomore Lenka Antonijevic and freshman Yuliya Kizelbasheva kicked off doubles play for K-State.
In the second match, DePaul took a critical point in the three spot after freshman Hristina Djokic and junior Marija Jovicic defeated senior Ines Mesquita and junior Lilla Barzo 3-6.
The doubles came down to the final match as juniors Margot Decker and Anna Turco took on senior Aspasia Avgeri and junior Alina Kuzmenkovain. Decker and Turco battled for the Wildcats, finally clinching the final doubles point after fighting through six-set points, taking down Avgeri and Kuzmenkova 7-6 (7-3).
K-State cruised through singles play, dropping just one match.
Job got things going, defeating Jovicic 6-4, 6-1 in the five spot, with Linares continuing the winning trend with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Kuzmenkova in the one spot.
Needing just one more victory to defeat the Blue Demons, Decker took on Kizelbasheva in the three spot. Even with momentum on the Wildcats side, Decker struggled, falling to Kizelbasheva in two sets, 3-6, 4-6.
Turco finished things off for the Wildcats in the two spot, holding off Avgeri 6-3, 7-5, to take the match against DePaul 4-1 and improve to 6-3 on the season.
After the victory over DePaul on Saturday, K-State was right back at it on Sunday afternoon, facing off against the Iowa Hawkeyes out of the Big Ten Conference.
Sunday’s match proved to have much stiffer competition for the Wildcats. This showed in K-State’s first doubles match of the day as the duo of Mesquita and sophomore Ioana Gheorghita fell to Iowa’s pair of sophomore Samantha Mannix and junior Danielle Burich in the three spot.
Even with the loss, the Wildcats battled back, as Decker and Turco took the second match in the two spot, defeating senior Elise Van Heuvelen Treadwell and junior Danielle Bauers 6-4.
The pair of Linares and Job then clutched the final point of the doubles portion of the match, defeating sophomore Michelle Bacalla and junior Ashleigh Jacobs 6-4.
For the first portion of the match, it looked as if the Wildcats were destined for the same result as their 4-1 victory over DePaul. After a 6-3, 6-1 loss for Linares against Van Heuvelen Treadwell in the one spot, the Wildcats clinched the next two points thanks to the play of Job and Maffei.
Job clinched her match over Jacobs in the four spot by a score of 6-2 and 7-5 before Maffei took down Bauers 6-2, 6-3 in the five spot, putting the Wildcats in a position to clinch the match, up 3-1 with three matches to go.
The next three matches were as close as they could be, with each of them going three sets. In the three spot, Decker took her first set against Bacalla 7-5, but Bacalla battled back, taking the next two sets 6-1 and 6-3, putting Iowa back into the swing of things, now down by a point overall.
Still up 3-2, Mesquita took on Burich in the six spot. Burich took the first set 6-2 before Mesquita made things interesting with a 6-2 victory. Mesquita fell in the third set 7-5, as Iowa tied the match 3-3.
In that final match, Turco took on Mannix, with Mannix starting with a close 7-6 victory in set one. Turco would not go down easily, coming back and taking set two by a score of 6-3, and sending it to one final set to decide the match.
After going ahead 5-4, Turco was in a good position to give K-State the victory, but a big rally by Mannix was too much for Turco, as she took the match 7-6, giving Iowa the tough victory 4-3.
After the loss to Iowa, K-State moves to 6-4 overall. Even after the tough defeat, things are still looking up for the Wildcats as their next six matches are at home. K-State will take on SMU on Friday at 11 a.m.