Kentucky womens tennis shines in opening day doubleheader


Kentucky’s women’s tennis team huddles before its match with Memphis.IMAGE OBTAINED FROM UK ATHLETICS. PHOTO BY GRANT LEE

Jack Spurgeon, Reporter

Kentucky womens tennis opened the season with a doubleheader, recording a 7-0 sweep against East Tennessee State as well as a 5-2 win over Miami (Ohio).

For the second consecutive year Kentucky defeated ETSU in its season opener.

To start off the day in the Hillary J. Boone Indoor Tennis Center, the Wildcats won every contest against ETSU, claiming an early 1-0 lead in doubles and never looking back.

Kentucky senior Florencio Urrutia set the tone early for the Cats as she finished the day with a combined 4-0 on the court. Urrutia also served victory on the no. 2 doubles and no. 2 singles courts.

Riding off of her prosperous fall performance, Urrutia claimed two wins over ETSU’s Marisa Shumeika, with the first ending 6-2, followed by another 6-3 win.

Following Urrutia, Elizabeth Stevens took the court for the first time in nearly a year, serving the reigning SoConn Player of the Week Layla Bakhodirova 4-6, 6-2 and 6-1.

Along with performances from Kentucky’s familiar faces, some new faces made solid debuts as freshman Zoe Hammond and junior transfer Makayla Mills won each of their respective singles matches.

Mills made her stellar debut in the blue and white with a commanding win in doubles alongside Urrutia.

In singles action, the Wildcats wasted no time pushing the gas and aiming for the finish line.

Urrutia, playing at no. 2, was the first to finish, serving the reigning Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year Nishitha Saravanan 6-1 in both matches.

Following close behind, Stevens took the court to take down All-MAC First Team selection Lauren Rico, 6-3, 6-3.

Mills, who began her set falling behind, rallied back to serve Miami with yet another loss to clinch the win for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats will stay at home on Sunday, Jan. 22, as they face Illinois and Northern Illinois in a double header. Matches will begin at 10 a.m. EST starting with Illinois, followed by Northern Illinois at 2 p.m. EST. Admission for these matches is free to the public.