Facing off against its final two opponents of the regular season, the Kansas State tennis team fell short against No. 40 Oklahoma State and No. 24 Oklahoma this past weekend.
The Wildcats matched up against the Cowgirls (10-10, 3-4 Big 12) on Friday inside the Body First Tennis Center after rain forced play indoors. The day was not easy for the Wildcats as the team fell early in doubles play and struggled to claw its way back into the match-up in singles.
“We didn’t capitalize on early chances in doubles,” head coach Jordan Smith said in a K-State Athletics press release. “Right now, we’re not a complete team. Too many individuals at the moment.”
The match-up was decided early with OSU taking a 1-0 lead in doubles followed by three straight victories in individual play, giving the Cowgirls a quick 4-0 victory. The match-ups for the 2, 4 and 6 spots were not played.
The weekend did not get much better for the Wildcats with another match loss against No. 24 Oklahoma (14-5, 5-3 Big 12) on Sunday at the Mike Goss Tennis Stadium.
The day started with celebrations for seniors Lilla Barzo and Margot Decker.
“They are fighters,” Smith said on Barzo’s and Decker’s last home match. “They have certainly proven that. Even in Lilla’s short time here, only her second year, she has been a great addition. Obviously, Margot, four years in, she still has the same passion and fight she had as a freshman. That is something you really inspire to have in student-athletes. It has nothing to do with tennis at the end of the day, just being great young women, and the way they brought energy is something we will have to make up for when they are gone.”
Despite changes to the doubles teams, K-State dropped the opening point on Sunday. With an early 1-0 lead, Oklahoma needed just three wins out of six to secure the victory.
Linares and Barzo went all-out in their final home matches in an attempt to carry the Wildcats to victory. Unfortunately, the two faced off against top-100 ranked players in No. 97 Dana Guzman and No. 79 Ivana Corley, respectively.
Linares took her opponent to three sets, two of which were tiebreakers but fell just short 7-6 (11-9), 4-6, 1-0 (11-9).
“When I stepped on the court, I didn’t feel like it was my last day,” Decker said. “I felt pretty good about how I played and how I competed. The first day felt like yesterday here. So many memories and friends I have made here. I feel like everyone came out on the court and fought. Not just for us, but for the whole team. It was a pretty cool atmosphere.”
Barzo also showed her grit and almost pulled out a victory against Corley but lost 7-5, 6-4.
“I just wanted to give everything that I had in me,” Barzo said. “I think I was facing adversity with my injury, but everyone was great around me and the atmosphere was great. I am just grateful for my teammates. I knew they were fighting for Margot and I.”
A bright spot for the Wildcats came from sophomore Karine-Marion Job as she beat No. 73 Carmen Corley in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. This win gives Job three wins over ITA-ranked opponents this season and she will look to move into those rankings next season.
With the Sooners claiming victories on every court besides court one, the Sooners improved to 6-1 on the match and handed K-State its fourth straight loss to ranked opponents.
After dropping the final four matches at home, K-State (7-11, 2-7 Big 12) finished its home season 6-4 but will look to earn a berth at the NCAA tournament through the Big 12 Championships which begin April 22 in Waco, Texas.
K-State will face off against in-state rivals Kansas in the first match of the tournament on Thursday at 10 a.m. The winner of that match faces off against No. 2 Texas the next day.