Kansas Rallies Past Colorado, Advances to Quarterfinals of Big 12 Championships

April 27, 2006

<?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>WACO, Texas – The University of Kansas tennis team rallied late in singles play for the second time in as many matches this season to defeat the University of Colorado, 4-3, in the first round of the Big 12 Championships on Thursday. KU will face top-seeded Baylor on Friday in Waco.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

After losing two of three doubles matches to fall into an early 1-0 hole, Kansas’ Elizaveta Avdeeva, Christine Skoda and Edina Horvath each won singles matches, eventually knotting the dual at three, and setting up a dramatic conclusion to the No. 6 match between CU’s Martina Sedivec and the Jayhawks’ Stephanie Smith.

Following Smith’s win in the first set of the contest, Sedivec fought back to win the second, forcing a deciding third to determine which school would advance. After the two traded early blows to tie the set at two, Smith went on a tear, winning four straight points to clinch the match, and more importantly, a berth in Friday’s quarterfinals for her team.

“We came out slow in doubles, but we hung in there,” head coach Amy Hall-Holt said after her team’s thrilling victory. “We had a lot of fight and guts, and it paid off. It’s what we’ve been working for all semester.”

Smith, a Salina, Kan., native, entered the match with a 7-6 singles record this spring while splitting time in the No. 6 slot with freshman Yuliana Svistun. The sophomore, who earlier this week was named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team along with Avdeeva and Skoda, had lost her previous four matches heading into the Championships.

The victory improves the 64th-ranked Jayhawks to 14-10 this spring, and the triumph over the 53rd-ranked Buffaloes marked KU’s sixth this season over ranked foes.

By winning Thursday’s fourth-and-final contest, the eighth-seeded Jayhawks ensured that the first round of the Championships held to form, as higher-seeds Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Nebraska all recorded victories over their opponents.