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By Tyler Spanyer
Following a stellar 2012 campaign, the men’s and women’s tennis teams got the 2013 season under way this weekend, both cruising to easy victories.
The women’s team, which comes in with SEC experience and some new talent, dominated Saturday, led by freshman Nadia Ravita and senior Jessica Stiles.
The Cats took on Morehead State in the morning at the Boone Center. UK won the doubles point easily, winning 8-1 and 8-2 to take the point into singles. The Cats continued to dominate during the singles portion with Stiles winning 6-1, 6-0. The Cats went on to win all the singles matches, sweeping the Eagles 6-0.
In the evening, the Cats took on Belmont and defeated them with ease winning the match 6-1. Sophomore Edmée Morin-Kougoucheff dominated in both doubles and singles showing great emotion to help with some of the younger players like freshman Kirsten Lewis who started her career 2-0 in singles.
Coach Carlos Drada was happy with his team’s performance Saturday.
“The players did a great job today of translating our practice into their play and I am very happy with their performance,” he said. “I think we are going to surprise some people in the SEC. We have a strong core of upperclassmen with some good young talent arriving.”
Sunday was the guys’ turn as the defending SEC champs took the court for the first time in 30 years without previous head man Dennis Emery. Taking over for Emery is longtime assistant Cedric Kauffmann, who led the Cats to his first two wins as head coach.
In the morning session, the Cats took down in-state foe Northern Kentucky University in dominating fashion, winning 7-0. The Cats top doubles pair of Junior Tom Jomby and Freshman Kevin Lai won 8-1, barely breaking a sweat against the Norsemen.
UK went on to win the other two doubles matches as well, winning the doubles point. During the singles portion freshmen Beck Pennington and Juan Pablo Murra won their first matches of their career, each losing only one game in their straight set victories. The Cats went on to dominate again in singles cruising past the Norse.
In the evening session, the Cats were spectacular, winning in dominant fashion against the Morehead State Eagles. Jomby and Lai again paired up for doubles winning 8-0. The team proved their No. 35 doubles ranking by winning 16 of the 17 games they played together. The Cats cruised in doubles sweeping the Eagles 3-0.
“We have been working really hard on doubles in practice and are glad to see that is paying off in matches,” Kauffman said.
In singles, Jomby continued his success, winning 6-0, 6-0. Jomby showed all facets of his game using his large frame to reach anything and everything that was hit at him.
The Cats cruised through singles sweeping the Eagles 7-0 for their second win of the day. Kauffmann was very pleased with his teams’ efforts after the day, but noted that the schedule gets much tougher in the near future.
The men’s team will face a quick turnaround as they head to Bloomington, Ind. for a match with No. 22 Indiana on Wednesday. The women don’t return to action until Feb. 1, when they will travel to Huntington, W. Va. to face off with Marshall.