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Kentucky women’s tennis struggles in SEC play, falls to LSU and Texas A&M

Samuel Colmar
Kentucky senior Elizabeth Stevens hits the ball during the Kentucky vs Wichita State women’s tennis match on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 5-2. Photo by Samuel Colmar | Staff

Kentucky women’s tennis traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and College Station, Texas, on March 22-24, in search of its second conference win of the season.  

In Baton Rouge, LSU opened the match by taking the doubles point from the Cats to get an early lead. 

The first doubles match to finish was Julia Zhu and Lidia Gonzalez who fell 6-3 to their opponents. Shortly after, Ellie Eades and Zoe Hammond also fell 6-3.  

In singles play, five of the six opening sets were lost by the Wildcats as they struggled to establish any momentum early in the matches. 

Elizabeth Stevens was the first to fall in for the Cats as she ended her match with a 6-0, 6-2 score. Not long after, Gonzalez fell 6-0, 6-2.  

The last hope now rested upon Hammond to keep Kentucky alive against the Tigers. Hammond put in a great effort to recover from a challenging first set, but she was never able to take the lead and lost 6-3, 6-4. 

LSU’s victory on court two sealed the duel with a final score of 5-2. 

Moving onto the next stop in College Station, the Wildcats dropped the match 6-1 to No.11 Texas A&M.  

For the doubles point, the Aggies opened with two victories of 6-1 and 6-2 on courts two and three, giving Texas A&M an early jump.  

After winning the first six sets of singles play, Texas A&M maintained its strong start to the match.  

On court three, No. 36 Mia Kupres defeated Gonzalez in straight sets to increase the lead. Afterwards, Mary Stoiana, the No.1 ranked singles player in the nation, beat Stevens 6-2, 6-1.  

The Aggies secured this win by defeating Eades on court four with a score of 6-2, 6-3. 

The only point Kentucky was able to pick up was Zhu’s impressive comeback from being down a set. 

Zhu focused on winning the final two games of the set and forcing a match tiebreaker. She claimed this victory over her opponent, making this her fourth straight win in SEC game play.  

The Wildcats will come back home to Hilary J. Boone Complex in Lexington, Kentucky, to play Missouri and Arkansas beginning on Friday, March 29.

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Samuel Colmar, Assistant Photo Editor

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