The Kansas State tennis team closed out non-conference play on a high note Wednesday with a 4-3 victory over Nebraska thanks to a clutch comeback performance by sophomore Karine-Marion Job in the final match of the afternoon at Mike Goss Tennis Stadium.
With both teams tied at 3-3, it all came down to Job and Nebraska (9-4) freshman Chloe Kuckelman to decide the meet in the No. 4 match.
Nebraska had the edge after the first set, as Kuckelman took the opening set over Job by a score of 6-4.
Since moving to the number four spot on Feb. 23, Job had not lost a match, going into the match with the Cornhuskers sitting at 2-0. After the next two sets, it was easy to see why Job had that 2-0 record in the four spot and a 6-1 record in singles in 2020.
Job stepped up and dominated the rest of the match, taking the second set by a score of 6-3 and taking the final set by a score of 6-1, giving K-State (8-4) the 4-3 victory over the Cornhuskers.
“I told her that we needed her, and she stepped up, that’s all we can ask,” head coach Jordan Smith told K-State Sports. “To be in that situation where she put pressure on herself shows all the hard work that she has put in.”
Prior to Job’s performance, the Wildcats and Cornhuskers went back and forth with each other throughout the match.
K-State started the match in a hole, falling in the No. 2 spot and three positions in doubles play to give Nebraska the first point of the match.
In double’s action, it was the junior pair of Margot Decker and Anna Turco falling in the two spot to the duo of freshman Isabel Adrover Gallego and senior Claire Reifeis by a score of 2-6. After that, K-State’s sophomore Ioana Gheorghita and senior Ines Mesquita fell to Nebraska’s pair of freshman twins Ellie Kuckelman and Chloe Kuckelman by a score of 6-4 in the number three position.
Down 1-0 going into the singles portion of the match, Turco made quick work of Reifeis in the number one match, taking the first set 6-2 and the second 6-0 to tie things up at 1-1 between the two teams.
Nebraska took the lead right back though after Decker suffered her second loss of the day in the number three match falling to freshman Kristina Novak by scores of 4-6 and 1-6.
K-State then hit their stride in the number two and six matches. Junior Maria Linares defeated Galle in the two spot by scores of 6-2 and 6-4 to tie things back up, then Mesquita gave K-State a 3-2 overall lead with 6-1 and 6-3 victories over sophomore Jessica Aragon.
Finally snatching the lead away from the Cornhuskers and looking for a chance to take the match, redshirt sophomore Rosanna Maffei could not get the job done against Ellie Kuckelman in the No. 5 match, falling 1-6 and 2-6. Job had her clutch three-set victory over Chloe Kuckelman to give K-State the 4-3 victory in the end.
K-State’s victory improved the Wildcats’ record to 8-4 on the season before the start of conference play this weekend. That first conference game being against the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Friday at Mike Goss Tennis Stadium with the start time set for 3 p.m.