Jayhawks make history with Big 12 awards
IRVING, Texas – The Kansas women’s tennis team had four student-athletes in Despoina Vogasari, Anastasia Rychagova, Nina Khmelnitckaia and Maria Toran Ribes honored with Big 12 Conference awards this season as announced Thursday afternoon by the league office.
Senior-transfer Vogasari was named Newcomer of the Year and also earned a spot on the All-Big 12 Singles First Team. Junior Rychagova was named to the All-Big 12 Singles First Team, as well as Doubles Second Team with partner junior Khmelnitckaia. Also on the All-Big 12 Doubles Second Team is Vogasari and sophomore Toran Ribes.
“We are happy and proud of Nas (Rychagova), Debbie (Despoina), Nina and Maria for being recognized by the Big 12 for their strong play this spring,” said head coach Todd Chapman. “To have four players represented on the Big 12 All-Conference lists definitely shows the direction the program is going. This is a well-deserved honor for all four of them.”
Vogasari’s honor marks the second-straight year a Jayhawk has been named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year after Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum became the first KU player to win the award last season. Vogasari, who is currently ranked No. 63, transferred to Kansas from Houston for her final year of eligibility. The senior has not lost a match since moving back to the No. 1 position on March 23 against Texas Tech. During that match, Vogasari earned her highest-ranked win over an opponent when she downed No. 11 Gabriela Talaba, 6-2, 6-2.
So far this season, Vogasari has tallied an impressive 24-9 overall singles record, including 13-4 in duals and is on a 10-match win streak, the longest of her career.
For Rychagova, currently ranked No. 8, this is her third-consecutive year on the all-league team and the first in Kansas history for a player to be named three years consecutively. Rychagova was named the No. 1-ranked player in the nation on November 15, 2017, after the fall season had concluded. Since, she has been ranked in the top-10 throughout the entirety of the season.
Rychagova has not played a match since February 16, but still managed an overall singles record of 18-3, including 11-2 against nationally-ranked opponents and a dual mark of 8-1 at the No. 1 position.
This is Khmelnitckaia’a second-straight year being named to the All-Big 12 Doubles Second Team, as well as the first time a Jayhawk has been honored in back-to-back years since Elizaveta Avdeeva earned the award in 2006 and 2007. Khmelnitckaia and Rychagova rose all the way to the No. 14-ranked doubles team this season, a career high for both Moscow, Russia, natives. Overall, the tandem put up a record of 15-4, including 8-2 in dual-play matches at the No. 1 spot.
With Vogasari and Toran Ribes also on the list, it is the first year two Jayhawk doubles teams have been honored in the same year since 1998. Vogasari and Toran Ribes paired up in the middle of February and have since gone 13-3 at the No. 3 position in the lineup.
KU will be back in action Friday at 12 p.m., CT, when the Jayhawks face Denver in Malibu, California for the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
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