Kentucky rebounds from first loss with convincing Alabama win


Akvile Parazinskaite high fives Carlota Molina after winning a point during the University of Kentucky vs. Louisiana State women’s tennis meet on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, at the Hillary J. Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. UK lost 4-3. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Hunter Shelton

After dropping their conference opener against the LSU Tigers, the UK Women’s tennis team 8-1 (0-1 SEC) looked to bounce back on Friday afternoon against Alabama inside the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex. 

The 9-3 (0-2 SEC) Crimson Tide came into the match on a two-game skid, also searching for their first conference victory of the season.  

UK would look to continue its tremendous doubles play to kick off action, standing 18-1 in doubles matches this season. The Cats did just that, claiming the first doubles match with ease thanks to the No. 57 pair in the country, Lesedi Jacobs and Anastasia Tkachenko, who defeated Alba Cortina Pou and Anna Parkhomenko 6-0 on court three.  

Alabama would fire back though on court two behind Anne Marie Hiser and Sydney Riley. The couplet handed Elizabeth Stevens and Carla Girbau their first doubles loss of the season 6-3, bringing the crucial doubles point down to court one.  

The Crimson Tide tandem Moka Ito and Sasha Gorchanyuk jumped out to a 4-1 lead on UK’s top duo, Akvilė Paražinskaitė and Fiona Arrese. The 5-0 Wildcat pair fought back though to tie the match at six sets a piece, forcing a tiebreaker. Paražinskaitė and Arrese would ultimately prevail after a hard-fought match, winning 7-6 (7-4) continuing UK’s doubles dominance and putting them up 1-0 ahead of singles play.  

Paražinskaitė first tacked onto UK’s lead, besting Ito on court one 7-5, 6-2. The Lithuanian graduate student stayed a perfect 10-0 in singles with the result.  

Not too far behind was Jacobs, who defeated Parkhomenko 6-4, 6-3 to increase UK’s lead to 3-0. The redshirt senior out of Windhoek, Namibia finds herself amidst a three-match win streak after beginning the season 1-1. 

Alabama would get on the board courtesy of Cortina Pou, who bested Stevens 7-6 (7-5,) 6-4. Cortina Pou has been on an absolute tear, adding Stevens to a consecutive singles win last that now stands at ten.

Carlota Molina extinguished any signs of life from the Tide, putting the nail in the crimson coffin with a three-set win. The sophomore from Gran Canaria, Spain outlasted Gorchanyuk 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 to clinch the UK the victory.

Now 9-1 (1-1 SEC), the Cats will have a quick turnaround. They’ll battle Auburn on Sunday back at the Boone Tennis Complex. The match is set to begin at 11:00 a.m. E.T.