Tennis builds momentum after sluggish start to OSU Fall Series Championship

Juniors Anna Turco and Ioana Gheorghita talk during their first match of the day against Iowa State in Day Two of the K-State Fall Invitational. (Macey Franko | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State tennis team struggled on the opening day of the OSU Fall Series Championship Friday. The Wildcats took four matches but were facing deficits all afternoon. They managed to build momentum heading into day two, but the sluggish start could be costly overall.

“We came out flat to start the day,” head coach Jordan Smith said in a K-State press release. “We definitely didn’t possess the same swagger we’ve had in our other tournaments. That led to us being passive in doubles and in the first round of singles. We’re never going to win in this league playing like that.”

The first round was unforgiving for the Wildcats, with freshman Manami Ukita carrying the lone win, defeating sophomore Carmen Roxana Manu of Kansas. Ukita could not carry that first-round momentum into the next round and was defeated by Oklahoma State’s freshman Dariya Detkovskaya.

K-State turned the tide in the singles consolation bracket with wins from juniors Anna Turco, Rosanna Maffei and Maria Linares, which were crucial victories heading into day two. Both Maffei and Linares bounced back from early deficits that could not be recovered in the opening frame of singles play.

Turco defeated Iowa State freshman Ting-Pei Chang 6-2,2-0, but the match was called early due to a medical retirement by Chang. Linares secured a victory for the Wildcats, overtaking junior Kaitlin Staines of Texas Tech, 6-4, 6-4. K-State took another key match with Maffei defeating freshman Isabel Pascual Montalvo of TCU, 6-1,6-0.

“We have to use our strengths and take control of the matches,” Smith said. “We were able to do this in the second round of singles. It does not erase the slow performances in the morning, but it does help with creating momentum for the next few days.”

Ukita and Maffei dropped the first round of doubles play to the TCU duo of senior Marie Norris and junior Addy Guevara but took the consolation match against junior Tiffany Lagarde and sophomore Vasiliki Karvouni of Kansas.

Smith wants to see some urgency from his squad headed into the second day.

“It was pretty simple,” Smith said. “We have to move forward and take more ownership in our tennis. No more hoping and waiting for opponents to gift us matches.”

K-State will aim to carry the late momentum of day one into Saturday for the second day at Greenwood Tennis Courts. Matches begin at 10 a.m., with a full slate of doubles action.