🎾 2021 Season in Review
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas women’s tennis team concluded its Spring 2021 season, that was highlighted with top-100 rankings from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and 7-0 a shutout of Southeast Missouri State on the courts at the Jayhawk Tennis Center.
"The 2020-21 season had many obstacles and hardships, but at the end of the day we have higher expectations than what we achieved this year. Part of being on the Kansas Tennis Team is striving for excellence and not making excuses if we have failures. We as a program fell short of our goals and standards this year but we promise to come back as strong as ever next year. Our fans can expect an extremely hungry and motivated team next season. We can't wait to get back to work!"Todd Chapman, head coach
The Jayhawks commenced the 2021 season ranked at No. 25 in preseason ITA on January 14.
Additionally, Sonia Smagina landed at No. 81 on the individual rankings while the doubles team of Malkia Ngounoue and Carmen Roxana Manu landed at No. 49 in the preseason rankings.
Kansas received this top-tier recognition due, in fact, to the strong finish to the 2019-20 season going 7-4 on the abbreviated season due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Kansas notched the first victory of the 2021 season at Tulsa (4-3) back on January 31. The Jayhawks would proceed to mount a win streak that included multiple back-to-back wins, taking 5-of-8 of their matches.
- Tulsa (4-3): Kansas took the doubles point behind strong performances from Smagina and Vasiliki Karvouni 6-2 and Julia Deming and Tiffany Lagarde 7-6. In singles play, the Jayhawks tallied victories via Karvouni (6-4, 6-1), Manu (6-4, 7-6 [10-7]) and Ngounoue (6-3, 7-5).
Next up, Kansas notched their first back-to-back victories of the 2021 season, defeating both Wichita State and Arizona at home.
- Wichita State (4-3): The Jayhawks fell behind early on as the doubles point was secured by the Shockers. However, Kansas rallied back behind tremendous singles play. Manu earned the first point (6-3, 6-2), followed by Karvouni (6-1, 6-1), Smagina (7-5, 6-3) and Deming (6-3, 6-4). 📊 | 📸
- Arizona (6-1): Kansas competed well throughout the lineup, taking the doubles point with 6-1 and 6-2 court victories. Singles play didn’t lack in momentum, commenced by a clean sweep from Manu (6-0, 6-3), with Smagina (6-1, 6-2) next, followed by Ngounoue (6-4, 6-2) and concluding with Karvouni (6-4, 7-5). 📊 | 📸
The Jayhawks’ first Big 12 Conference win came back on February 27 on the courts of the Jayhawk Tennis Center after besting the Cyclones 4-3.
- Iowa State: The doubles point was crucial in this intense tennis battle inside the Jayhawks Tennis Center, Kansas’ courts two and three garnered the win. Karvouni started the singles scoring off for the Jayhawks (6-0, 6-4), Ngounoue was next (7-6, 6-2) and Deming claimed court six (6-3, 6-2). 📊 | 📸
Kansas hosted Southeast Missouri State University for the first outdoor meet of the spring season and debuted their most dominant performance of the season, defeating the visitors 7-0 in Lawrence.
- SEMO (7-0): After this outdoor win, the Jayhawks had now won four of their last five matches. Courts one and two aided Kansas to a doubles victory. Karvouni claimed court four (6-1, 6-1) for the home team, Smagina followed on court one (6-1, 6-4), next was court three with Manu’s (6-3, 6-3) performance. The onslaught continued with Deming on court six (6-4, 6-0), Lagarde on court five (6-1, 6-3) and the sweep securing win on court two by Ngounoue (2-6, 6-2, 6-2). 📊 | 📸
Run It Back[to-Back]
The Jayhawks’ two consecutive wins was a repeating theme during the 2021 season, after taking down Kansas State and West Virginia only five days a part.
- K-State (4-1): Kansas positioned itself back in the win column after besting in-state foe Kansas State. The Jayhawks established a pace in doubles that the Wildcats couldn’t keep up with. With a 1-0 lead, Manu added to that total (6-4, 6-0), next was Karvouni (6-1, 6-2) and Deming wrapped up the victory on court six (6-4, 6-3). Courts one and five were tabbed as unfinished. 📊 | 📸
- West Virginia (6-1): The Jayhawks defeated the Mountaineers in an unrelenting 6-1 victory, tying the longest win streak of the 2021 season. With the momentum and 1-0 lead, Deming’s match was won in a walkover. Kansas concluded singles play with Karvouni finishing first (6-1, 6-2), followed by Ngounoue (6-1, 6-3) and Manu (3-6, 6-3, 6-3). Now at a 5-0 lead, Lagarde routed West Virginia’s Anne-Sophie Courteau 6-3 and 6-3 to take the match 6-1. 📊
The No. 9 seeded Kansas outlasted the No. 8 seeded Kansas State in the opening round of the Big 12 Women’s Tennis Championship back on April 22, taking the match 4-3 on the Hurd Tennis Center Courts in Waco, Texas.
- K-State: Doubles play came down to the wire with the fate of the point resting on court two, the Wildcats notched the point. Singles play was much of the same high level competition. Manu evened the match at one-all after taking court three (6-0, 6-4), Smagina followed (1-6, 6-2, 6-4), and Karvouni doubled the output for Kansas finishing on court four (3-6, 6-4, 6-4) to push the Jayhawks lead to 3-2. KState deadlocked the match at three all after a win on court six and the winning point belonged to the victor of court one. Ngounoue (7-6, 5-7, 7-5) rallied through her tough battle and outlasted the Wildcat to push her team to a 4-3 win. 📊 | 🎥
Big  Recognition
The Jayhawks earned postseason awards for their efforts both on and off the court.
Congrats to Julia, Vasia, Sonia and Roxana for being named to the 2021 Academic All-Big 12 Teams, plus a pair of perfect 4.0 GPAs!
— Kansas Tennis (@KansasTennis) May 6, 2021
Deming, Karvouni, Smagina and Manu all earned this recognition for the first time in their careers. Deming and Karvouni, both sport management majors, notched a 4.0 grade point average to join nine other Big 12 student-athletes across men’s and women’s tennis. Smagina, a liberal arts and sciences major, represented the First Team alongside her teammates Deming and Karvouni. Manu tabbed Second Team honors for her studies in psychology.
— Kansas Tennis (@KansasTennis) May 11, 2021
The junior duo of Ngounoue and Lagarde garnered honors on the 2021 All-Big 12 individual women’s tennis postseason awards. This is Ngounoue’s second postseason conference honor, after garnering All-Big 12 Doubles Second Team honors in 2019. Her success on the court placed her on the All-Big 12 Singles First Team. Ngounoue notched nine wins in singles play, mostly in Kansas’ second position, later taking over the number one spot during the conference tournament. Lagarde earned her first Big 12 career accolade, being named to the Big 12 Individual No. 5 Singles position Champion alongside Texas Tech’s Olivia Peet. Lagarde notched six-singles victories on the season with four conference wins. She is no stranger to postseason accolades, receiving recognition back at UC Santa Barbara on the Big West Singles Second Team.