Tennis struggles in trip to Lone Star State

Running for the ball, freshman Manami Ukita makes an effort to get a point at the K-State Fall Invite in October. (Macey Franko | Collegian Media Group)

Starting off a weekend trip to the Lone Star State, the No. 43 ranked Kansas State tennis team traveled to the McLeod Tennis Center on Friday to take on No. 33 Texas Tech.

The Wildcats struggled in the match while Texas Tech was dominant in both doubles and singles play.

The No. 46 duo of sophomore Karine-Marion Job and junior Maria Linares suffered a 6-0 defeat while senior Margot Decker and sophomore Ioana Gheorghita were dealt a similar fate from the No. 2 spot, losing 6-1.

The early lead in the matchup gave the Red Raiders all the momentum the team needed going into singles action. The team swept the Wildcats in single’s play, only dropping one set in six matches, en route to a 7-0 victory.

Even though the Wildcats struggled on the courts, head coach Jordan Smith said he believes a lot of the results fell on his shoulders.

“I clearly didn’t prepare this team well enough to compete today,” Smith said in a K-State Athletics press release. “During our two-week break, we forgot what it’s like to believe in ourselves in a match. I hope our ladies use today as a reminder to charge forward and not expect things to be handed to us.”

The Wildcats looked to turn over a new leaf on Sunday as they took on No. 49 TCU at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center.

K-State struggled again in doubles play, with the aforementioned pairings dropping their matches 6-2 and 6-3, giving TCU an early 1-0 lead in the matchup. However, the Wildcats swung back and hit hard.

Senior Lilla Barzo was the first to put points on the board for K-State as she took down TCU’s Stevie Kennedy in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. Gheorghita made her 2021 single’s debut against Addy Guevara and put on an impressive display as she won 6-3, 6-4.

“Really proud of Ioana,” Smith said. “Ioana found out she was playing singles during the pre-match warmups. She’s been waiting her turn to play in the lineup. It came today and she did great.”

The final point for K-State came from Decker as she won a hard-fought battle over the Horned Frogs’ Isabel Pascual, 7-6 (7-3), 2-6, 6-4.

Unfortunately, the Wildcats dropped their matches on courts one, two and three, suffering a very close defeat to TCU 4-3.

“I’m proud of these ladies for their fight back today,” Smith said. “Sure, we came up just short, but this was a better showing than how we performed on Friday. This team could have used every reason and excuse from this weekend to lose today. That didn’t happen. We’re getting back on track.”

The Wildcats travel to Lawrence this weekend to take on in-state rival No. 45 Kansas on March 21. The team will then return home for a matchup against DePaul on March 22.