RCW: Sport Spotlight 4.19 (Tennis)
— Kansas Tennis (@KansasTennis) January 24, 2018
Kansas tennis’ Maria Toran Ribes notched the Jayhawks’ only point against No. 10-ranked Michigan in the first dual match of the season Sunday, January 21, 2018.
Playing at the No. 4 spot for the first time in her collegiate career, Toran Ribes faced the Wolverines’ Lera Patiuk. The KU sophomore won three-consecutive games to take a 5-3 lead before winning the first set, 6-4. She then opened the second set by winning three-straight games. Toran Ribes only allowed Patiuk one game in the second set, ending with a 6-4, 6-1 victory.
Sunday’s competition marked the first time Toran Ribes participated in a dual-play match since experiencing a season-ending injury in late March 2017. The Algemesí, Spain, native came back in the fall to tally a 6-6 singles record and a 5-7 doubles mark.
“It’s been a work in progress with Maria,” said head coach Todd Chapman. “This spring, from the time she’s been back from Christmas vacation, there’s a little bit of a different mindset. She’s been more mentally and physically tough. She’s starting to believe in herself again. She’s in a good spot and has really come around in her doubles play and is putting herself in uncomfortable positions so she continues to grow and develop.”
Paired with junior Janet Koch in the No. 2 position, the duo fought in a back-and-forth match with Chiara Lommer and Alyvia Jones before falling, 7-5.
“Maria has definitely started the spring off in a nice way with her tournament in Florida and how she played at Michigan in the way she’s competing,” said Chapman. “Maybe she hasn’t won all of those matches, but she’s competitive in every set she’s played this spring and that’s a great step forward.”
Toran Ribes will look to build off of her momentum as the Jayhawks head to Columbus, Ohio, for ITA Kick-Off Weekend January 26-27. Kansas will face No. 13 Ohio State Friday at 9 a.m., CT and either No. 18 Arkansas (3 p.m.) or Wake Forest (6 p.m.) Saturday at the Varsity Tennis Center.