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By Tyler Spanyer | @KernelSpanyer
Cats win thriller against No. 8 Oklahoma
Coming off a week long break the No. 9 men’s tennis team defeated No. 8 Oklahoma in the first ever meeting between the two programs. UK improves to 6-0, while Oklahoma drops to 4-1 on the year.
“I’m happy for the guys,” Coach Cedric Kauffmann said following the win. “I knew we had the talent to beat a Top-10 team I just didn’t know that it was going to happen this early in the year.”
The Cats took the doubles point for the sixth time this season, needing two epic wins in tie breaks to get the point. No. 35 junior Tom Jomby and freshman Kevin Lai upset the No. 12 ranked doubles pairing of senior Costin Paval and Dane Webb 8-7 (7-5). Paval and Webb went to the semifinals of the NCAA Doubles Tournament in 2012.
The Cats got another thrilling win on court three with senior Anthony Rossi and junior Grant Roberts winning their match 8-7 (7-5) as well.
Following doubles came the grueling singles matches in which three of the first four went to three sets. Unfortunately for the Cats all three of those three set matches went the Sooners’ way, with freshman No. 97 Juan Pablo Murra, junior Alejandro Gomez and senior No. 94 Anthony Rossi all losing heart breakers in the third set.
“It was hard to lose those three matches,” said Kauffmann. “We were down for about ten minutes but our guys fought back.”
Jomby again impressed defeating his toughest opponent of the year, junior No. 36 Guillermo Alcorta, 6-4, 6-4.
In the No. 5 singles match sophomore transfer Charles Minc cruised 6-2, 6-2 to even the match at 3-3.
In the No. 6 singles match Lexington native Grant Roberts pulled out a thrilling victory to clinch the match for the Cats. Roberts won 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 and survived a dog pile of UK players following his three set victory.
“Grant has sacrificed so much for this team,” said Kauffmann, “He is such a hard worker and deserved that win.”
The Cats will next be in action Feb. 9 as they travel to Champaigne to take on No. 25 University of Illinois. The match is set to begin at 6:00 p.m.
Women’s team splits weekend matches
Following a two-week break, the women’s tennis team went on the road to face off with Marshall. The Cats improved to 3-0 on the year as they defeated the Thundering Herd 5-2, for their first road win of this young season.
The Cats got off to a slow start losing the doubles point for the first time this year. However followed that up with a strong performance in singles winning five of the six remaining points.
“I am proud of the maturity our team showed,” said head coach Carlos Drada. “Everyone showed a lot of poise after losing the doubles point.”
Senior Jessica Stiles cruised again defeating Ellie Ball 6-1, 6-0 in the No. 2 singles spot. Junior Caitlin McGraw then easily dispatched her opponent winning 6-1, 6-2 to give the Cats a 2-1 lead.
Freshman Kirsten Lewis continued her hot streak to begin the year winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 to improve to 3-0 on the season.
Freshman Nadia Ravita clinched the match with her 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 victory over Dominika Zaprazna in No. 1 singles spot.
Following the victory in Huntington, the Cats had a quick turnaround as they came back to Lexington to face off with No. 48 Penn State at the Lexington Tennis Club.
The Cats lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Nittany Lions, 4-3, dropping their first match of the year.
The Cats won the doubles point in thrilling fashion as McGraw finished off the point by smashing an ace down the line to seal the No. 1 doubles match.
Freshman Nadia Ravita was the highlight for the Cats as she upset No. 27 Petra Januskova in straight sets winning 6-3, 6-1. Ravita now improves to 4-0 in her young career.
Lewis, who had been undefeated in her young career, lost in three sets, 5-7, 6-1, 0-6. Stiles, who had been undefeated as well, lost in three sets to Chelsea Utting. Sophomore Stephanie Fox cruised through the No. 6 singles match winning 6-1, 6-1.
“We played well for the majority of this match but at this level and to be able to start beating teams in the top fifty you have to be able to close out matches,” Drada said.