Tennis loses close 4-2 battle with No. 42 Northwestern

Rosanna Mafi, senior in nutrition and health, prepares for FAU to serve on Feb. 12, 2022. K-State beat FAU 4-0 (Archive photo by Kendall Spencer | Collegian Media Group).

In the battle of the Wildcats, K-State tennis faced off against No. 42 Northwestern on March 5, 2022, losing in a highly competitive 4-2 loss.

Starting the day with doubles, freshman Dinara Alloyarova and senior Anna Turco faced off against Justine Leong and Christina Hand, losing 6-2.

Seniors Maria Linares and Karine-Marion Job were the second match to finish in their back-and-forth against Clarissa Hand and Briana Crowley. Linares took command of the match early on by taking control of the net and sending multiple hits down the line. On the last point, Job finished off Northwestern with a cross-court shot at the net to give the senior duo a 7-5 victory.

The final doubles match, and the deciding match for the doubles point, was played by freshman Florentine Dekkers and senior Ioana Gheorghita against Hannah McColgan and Sydney Pratt. Dekkers’ power was on display early on as the duo took a 5-1 lead. In the end, they were unable to hold off a comeback from Northwestern and lost 7-5, with Northwestern earning the doubles point.

Heading into singles, No. 96 Job faced off against No. 70 Clarissa Hand. Starting off behind early, Job attempted a comeback in the first set but lost 6-4. Building off previous momentum, Job applied consistent side-to-side pressure against Hand and took the second set 6-0. Hand fought off the comeback and took the final set 6-3, earning Northwestern their second point of the day.

Senior No. 108 Rosanna Maffei had the second singles match to finish against Leong. In a close match, Maffei kept the consistent lead powered by her strong forehands, pushing Leong back. On the final point, Maffei set herself up with a backhand slice lob which placed her in position for her forehand winner, taking the match 6-4 and winning K-State its first point.

In another three-set match, Gheorghita went up against Northwestern’s Crowley. In a set filled with lobs and slices that led to big hits from both players, Gheorghita dropped the first set 7-6, losing in tiebreaker. Gheorghita took over the second set, winning 6-2 and setting up the final set to decide the match. Playing very similarly to the first set, Gheorghita and Crowley continued to stay close, but Gheorghita lost the finals set 6-4, and Northwestern earned its third point.

In a match filled with multiple big hits and winners from both sides, Linares faced off against Northwestern’s Pratt. Battling in the first set, the set went to tiebreaker where Linares took control and finished it off with a winner down the line, winning the set 7-6. The second set continued the high-level play, as Linares and Pratt battled, with Linares winning 6-4 and ending the match with a cross-court shot, earning K-State its second point to put the match at 3-2, Northwestern.

The final match to end was played between K-State’s Turco and Northwestern’s Christina Hand. Having smashed down multiple overhead spikes, Turco took a close first set 7-5. After the close first match, Turco lost the next two sets 6-1, 6-2, as Northwestern won the day 4-2.

Dekkers was unable to finish her match but was in the middle of a major comeback. Losing the first set 7-5, Dekkers found herself down 5-1 against Ema Lazic. Fighting back led by her powerful forehand, Dekkers stormed forward and won the second set 7-6 in a tiebreaker. The third set stood at 1-1 but was left unfinished.

K-State stands with a 6-4 record, with Northwestern being the third-ranked opponent they have faced this season. The next match is on March 11 in Stillwater, Oklahoma, against the Oklahoma State Cowgirls in K-State’s first match in Big 12 play.