Tennis struggles in spring season opener

Awaiting a serve, junior Karine-Marion Job competes in Day 2 of the Fall Invitational hosted by Kansas State on Oct. 30 through Nov. 1, 2020. (Macey Franko | Collegian Media Group)

The tennis team’s first official match since November — and first dual match since last March — was not an easy one. The Wildcats fell to Arkansas on Sunday, 7-0.

Head coach Jordan Smith said it was tough from start to finish.

“Today was tough for us,” Smith said in a release from K-State Athletics. “Not the start we would have liked out of this team. I knew there was going to be a little rust on us, but that can never be an excuse. You always have to give your all on the court.”

The day began with doubles play, pitting two nationally ranked players against each other. Kansas State’s No. 46 junior duo of Maria Linares and Karine-Marion Job fought a hard battle but fell to Arkansas’ No. 28 ranked pairing of Lauren Alter and Tatum Rice, 6-4.

The second doubles match was another close one featuring K-State’s senior Lilla Barzo and junior Anna Turco against the Razorbacks’ Morgan Cross and Indianna Spink. Turco and Barzo lost 6-4. These two wins gave the Razorbacks the early 2-0 lead.

Looking to improve in singles play, Linares, Barzo and Turco all took their opponents to three sets but struggled to put their matches away in the final set.

Linares faced a tough opponent in Rice. After dropping the first set, Linares battled back and won the second but ran out of steam in the third. She lost 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

Barzo suffered a similar loss to Arkansas’ Laura Rijkers as she too traded the first two sets but fell short in the third, losing 6-2, 2-6, 6-3. By the time Turco reached the third set with Alter, the dual was decided but Turco also fell 6-3, 6-7(3), 1-0(6).

Smith promoted Job to the top spot for the Wildcats for this dual where she faced off against Spink. Job couldn’t get into a rhythm and she received her first loss at the No. 1 spot, 3-6, 2-6.

Junior Rosanna Maffei and freshman Manami Ukita also saw singles play on Sunday but were defeated by Kelly Keller, 1-6, 0-6, and Morgan Cross 1-6, 6-7 (5), respectively.

The team looks for redemption on Sunday against Arizona State.

“It’s early in the season and I know this team is great enough to rise above this,” Smith said. “Moving forward, getting these ladies ready to take on Arizona State will be our mindset this week.”