Tennis struggles against Baylor, Texas 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 Kansas State tennis team faced off against two top-ten teams this past weekend at the Mike Goss Tennis Stadium as it took on No. 9 Baylor (18-3, 5-1) on Saturday and No. 2 Texas (20-1, 7-0) on Sunday.

Against Baylor, the Wildcats struggled in doubles play. Baylor took an early 1-0 lead in the matchup after dominant performances on courts one and two.

“Doubles was a let down again,” head coach Jordan Smith said in a press release to K-State Athletics. “So, until we get better in this area, then we won’t be able to beat a team like Baylor. We responded well in singles and had five competitive matches.”

K-State looked to regain control of the match in singles play. Sophomore Ioana Gheorghita and junior Anna Turco both pushed their opponents to the limits but eventually lost.

With Baylor also winning on courts three and four, the match was decided.

Even though the matchup had been decided, sophomore Karine-Marion Job and junior Maria Linares were permitted to finish their matches as they had gone to three sets.

Job, having dropped the first set against No. 57 Mel Krywoj, managed to claw her way back into her match and pulled out an impressive victory, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. Linares, in her match with Jessica Hinojosa, grabbed the first set and dropped the second. In the third set tiebreaker, Linares was victorious 10-6, giving her a three-set win.

“Great wins by KJ (Karine-Marion Job) and Maria (Linares) today,” Smith said. “They’re both doing a fantastic job competing in our top two spots. Another ranked win for KJ. Each of our ladies needed to go the distance, but they should feel great about how well they closed out their matches.”

The Wildcats faced a second top-ten team in as many days on Sunday as it matched up against No. 2 Texas.

Despite a better effort, K-State dropped the doubles point again, giving Texas an early lead.

With four of Texas’ singles players being in the top-125 of the ITA National Singles poll, it was an uphill battle for the Wildcats.

“Texas is deep and deserves to be where they are in the rankings,” Smith said. “Doubles was better than yesterday for us. We gave them too much respect at the beginning of singles.”

The afternoon did not get much better for the Wildcats as Texas swept singles play, winning every match two sets to none, giving the Longhorns a 7-0 win. Despite the loss, the team is still confident in itself and will bounce back stronger.

“I think the important thing is to know that we are still a good team, believe in ourselves, and be assertive when we need to,” Job said.

The Wildcats will look to finish out the season strong against No. 47 Oklahoma State (9-10, 2-4) on Friday and No. 25 Oklahoma (12-5, 3-3) on Sunday at the Mike Goss Tennis Stadium.

These matches will be very important for K-State as it looks to rise in the standings prior to the Big 12 Championship in Waco, Texas, on April 22-25.