Women’s Tennis opens year with sweeps of ETSU, Memphis


Akvile Parazinskaite hits the ball during play versus Memphis on Jan. 22, 2021.

Braden Ramsey

Kentucky’s women’s tennis program got off to a rousing start over the past couple of days, sweeping both East Tennessee State and Memphis 7-0 to open their 2021 campaign.

The Cats did not lose a match in Thursday’s contest with the Buccaneers OR in Friday’s meeting with the Tigers, going 12-0 in singles’ competition and 4-0 in finished doubles matches.

Lesedi Jacobs and Salsa Aher picked up the first doubles match win of the year for Kentucky, defeating ETSU’s Andrea Pascual-Larrinaga and Maria Fernanda Carvajal 6-2 on court three in a tad over half an hour of action.

Akvilė Paražinskaitė paired with Fiona Arrese for the second doubles win, taking it 7-5 over Alejandro Morales and Mayya Gorbunova after trailing 2-4 halfway through. The two broke serve to net Kentucky its first point of the day.

Carlita Molina and Aher bookended the singles performances for Kentucky, defeating Morales 6-1, 6-2 and Yunuen Elizarraras 6-2, 6-3 respectively. The other four games went three sets, with Elizabeth Stevens and Pascual-Larrinaga’s battle being the most intense. The freshman from Tigard, Oregon notched her first career singles victory 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (7-5) over the Buccaneer senior to put the Cats up 6-0.

24 hours later, Kentucky excelled again. Jacobs and Aher teamed up for another dominant showing, beating Alisha Reayer and Laura Bente without dropping a game. Paražinskaitė and Arrese won comfortably too, going 6-2 over Katherine Cao and Aran Teixido Garcia to snag the doubles point.

Arrese’s singles opponent, Camila Soares, was forced to retire after the first set. The freshman led her counterpart 6-4, and notched the point as a result.

Paražinskaitė’s matchup with Sophie Adams went the distance, splitting four two-set match victories by her comrades. Kentucky’s grad student out of Lithuania took the first set 6-2, but the Tiger freshman responded, claiming set two 6-3. The final set was hard-fought, as Adams – a Memphis native – tried to get the Tigers on the board. But Paražinskaitė proved too much to overcome, prevailing 6-4 to clinch the fourth point and overall victory for the Cats.

Kentucky aims to continue this outstanding beginning to its season on Tuesday, when Miami-OH and Cincinnati come to town. The doubleheader is the first of two on the schedule this week for the Cats. They face the Redhawks at 10:00 a.m. E.T., followed by the Bearcats at 3:00 p.m. E.T. Both meetings are taking place at the Boone Complex.