Linares scores first win of spring season, Wildcats fall to Sun Devils

About to hit the ball, junior Maria Linares moves her tennis racket. Linares and Job played against Iowa State on October 31. (Macey Franko | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State junior Maria Linares won a three-set match over Arizona State’s Sami Hampton on Sunday, but the Wildcats fell to the Sun Devils 4-1.

With the win, Linares now sits at 1-1 on the spring season and her victory put the Wildcats in the win column for the first time in 2021. Hampton is currently ranked No. 115 in the ITA National Singles poll.

“Credit to Maria today,” head coach Jordan Smith said in a release to K-State Athletics. “She managed herself way better today than last week. She got back to playing her style and not reacting to her opponent’s tennis. Plus, she got a ranked singles win today that should help boost her confidence moving forward.”

Though Linares achieved a victory, the trio of sophomore Karine-Marion Job, senior Margot Decker and junior Anna Turco failed to reach the same result.

Job played in the top spot against Arizona State’s Ilze Hattingh and lost in two sets, 5-7, 3-6. Hattingh, like Hampton, is also currently ranked in the ITA National Singles. She currently sits ranked at No. 37.

Decker fell in the number No. 3 spot early to the Sun Devil’s Lauryn John Baptiste, ending in a two-set defeat.

While in the No. 5 spot, Turco had a tough outing against Arizona State’s Marianna Argryokastriti. She fell in two sets, 6-1, 6-1.

Doubles matches didn’t yield any better results for the Wildcats.

The duo of Turco and senior Lilla Barzo in the No. 3 spot and the tandem of freshman Manami Ukita and sophomore Iona Gheorghita in the No. 2 failed to come away with victories.

“We came out a lot better in singles today,” Smith said. “Especially after losing a one-sided doubles point. We are getting closer to putting all the pieces together. We are not going to reach our peak until we have a complete team effort.”

The Sun Devils won 4-1 against the Wildcats and would improve to 2-0 all-time against K-State in dual match play.

“We got closer today against a well-coached ASU team,” Smith said. “However, definitely not where we want to be yet.”

K-State returns home for its next match against Drake for the home opener on Friday. The head-to-head match is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start.