Tennis splits weekend away from home

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Running for the ball, freshman Manami Ukita makes an effort to get a point. K-State hosted Iowa State and K-State in a three day tournament at Mike Goss Tennis Stadium. (Macey Franko | Collegian Media Group)

On Friday, the Kansas State tennis team (5-6, 0-3 Big 12) traveled to Ames, Iowa, to face off against the Iowa State Cyclones (11-4, 3-2 Big 12) at Forker Tennis Courts.

The team started off strong, taking the fight to the Cyclones in doubles play. Sophomore Karine-Marion Job and junior Maria Linares had an impressive showing on the No. 1 court as they took down the No. 73 duo of Miska Kadleckova and Thasaporn Naklo, 6-2.

The doubles point was secured for the Wildcats by sophomores Rosanna Maffei and Ioana Gheorghita as they took down Sofia Cabezas and Maty Cancini, 6-3.

The momentum of the match shifted as the teams moved on to singles action. Iowa State won the first three matches to go up 3-1 on the day.

Job did her best to keep K-State in the matchup, as she clawed back a victory against Naklo in a tough 6-0, 1-6, 6-4 battle.

“KJ (Karine-Marion Job) had a day,” head coach Jordan Smith said in a K-State Athletics press release. “Picked up probably her best singles win ever and I’m proud of her.”

The day did not go well for the rest of the Wildcats as Iowa State won the matchup 4-2.

“We had a great start in doubles,” Smith said in a press release. “One of our better doubles performances this season. Almost had a complete team effort in singles. Unfortunately, that will not win us many matches in this league or anywhere.”

The Wildcats, looking for redemption, trekked their way to Morgantown, West Virginia, on Sunday to challenge the West Virginia Mountaineers at the Summit Tennis Academy.

When the team arrived, West Virginia announced it was only able to field five players, meaning K-State automatically earned a win in both singles and doubles play. This meant K-State needed just one win in doubles play and two in singles to take the victory.

The first win came in doubles as senior Lilla Barzo and freshman Manami Ukita showed their strengths in a 6-3 win over Momoko Nagato and Amber Fuller.

That power continued through to singles play as Barzo and Ukita picked up the vital wins for K-State to walk away victorious.

Barzo claimed a victory from the No. 4 spot as she managed to hold on against Fuller again in a 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) win. Ukita played well from the No. 3 spot as she had to fight for both her sets to grab a victory against Nadya Maslova, 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-2).

The win for the Wildcats marked the first away win since beating DePaul on February 22, 2020. They sit at 6-6 on the year and 1-3 in conference play.

K-State will travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma, on March 31 before returning home for a five-game home stretch, starting with in-state rivals KU, prior to the Big 12 Championship on April 22.

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