Wildcats fall to KU, dominate DePaul over the weekend

At the net, junior Ioana Gheorghita watches for the tennis ball. K-State hosted Iowa State and KU in their Fall Invitational on October 30 through November 1 at Mike Goss Tennis Stadium. (Macey Franko | Collegian Media Group)

The No. 46 Kansas State Wildcats (4-5) traveled to Lawrence to face off against the No. 45 Kansas Jayhawks (6-6) at the Jayhawk Tennis Center on Sunday.

The Wildcats struggled from the get-go and couldn’t generate any momentum against the in-state rival.

K-State dropped the opening doubles point after the new pairing of sophomore Karine-Marion Job and senior Margot Decker suffered a 6-1 loss to Sonia Smagina and Vasiliki Karvouni. Senior Lilla Barzo and sophomore Ioana Gheorghita lost 6-1 to Carmen Roxana Manu and Tiffany Lagarde.

The day did not improve much for the Wildcats as the competition moved on to singles play.

Junior Maria Linares was the sole member of the team who managed to steal a victory from the Jayhawks as she beat Malkia Ngounoue, 6-4, 6-3.

The Jayhawks have won six-straight matches against the Wildcats but K-State has a chance for revenge on April 3 when the Jayhawks travel to Manhattan.

K-State (5-5) returned home on Monday to face off against DePaul (7-2) at the Body First Tennis Center.

The team appeared to motivated by the previous day’s struggles as the women came out swinging in doubles play.

Job and Linares returned to their regular pairing and dominated Lenka Antonijevic and Yuliya Kizelbasheva, 6-2. The second win from doubles play came from Barzo and freshman Manami Ukita as they managed to pull out a 6-4 win over Marija Jovicic and Alina Kuzmenkova.

These wins gave the ‘Cats an early 1-0 lead and they carried that drive through to singles play.

Ukita was the first to grab a victory, continuing her winning ways at home, as she defeated Kizelbasheva in a quick 6-3, 6-1 win.

Linates and Gheorghita followed suit as they grabbed wins over Kuzmenkova and Maddie Yergler, respectively.

These victories gave K-State a 4-0 over DePaul. With the win, K-State scored seven-straight home victories, dating back to February 28, 2020 when the ‘Cats took down SMU.

After the struggles against Kansas on Sunday, head coach Jordan Smith said he was pleased with Monday’s performance.

“You got to be better than yesterday and for them to come out today and have all eight girls, whether they played or not, bring it and come together, that’s what we want,” Smith said to K-State Athletics. “”For us, we have to make these home environments tough to play in. It hasn’t been easy in every single win at home, but that’s credit to our ladies who are taking ownership in their K-State pride.”

The Wildcats will return to conference play on Friday as they travel to Ames, Iowa, to take on the Iowa State Cyclones (10-4) before taking a trip to Morgantown, West Virginia, to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers (3-4) on Sunday.

“These next three road matches are going to be huge,” Smith said. “To get at least two of the next three on the road, that will set us up nicely to have a chance to make the NCAA Tournament. For us to win all our matches at home but none on the road, that is unusual for us. We are over halfway through the season, now we just need to get one or two quality road wins, so we know we deserve to be in the tournament.”