Kansas Drops 4-3 Heartbreaker to Denver

#58 Denver 4, #23 Kansas 3
Jayhawk Tennis Center
March 6, 2016
No. 1 –  Nina Khmelnitckaia/Janet Koch (KU) def. Julia O’Loughlin/Maureen Slattery (DU) 6-3
No. 2 – Maria Jose Cardona/Summer Collins (KU) vs. Bianca Mok/Morgan Barnhill (DU) 4-3 unfinished
No. 3 – Smith Hinton/Anastasiya Rychagova (KU) def. Charlotte Derbyshire/Evy Van Genechten 6-3
Order of Finish: 3,1
No. 1 – Julia O’Loughlin (DU) def. Anastasiya Rychagova (KU) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
No. 2 – Bianca Mok (DU) def. Smith Hinton (KU) 6-3, 5-7, 6-0
No. 3 – Maureen Slattery (DU) def. Janet Koch (KU) 7-6, 6-0
No. 4 – Nina Khmelnitckaia (KU) def. Evy Van Genechten (DU) 6-2, 6-3
No. 5 – Morgan Barnhill (DU) def. Summer Collins (KU) 6-3, 6-3
No. 6 – Maria Jose Cardona (KU) def. Charlotte Derbyshire (DU) 6-0, 6-0
Order of Finish: 6,4,5,3,1,2

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LAWRENCE, Kan.—After opening the match with a 3-0 lead, No. 23 Kansas faltered in the final four matches, to drop a heartbreaker, 4-3, to No. 58 Denver Sunday afternoon at the Jayhawk Tennis Center. The loss dropped the Jayhawks to 8-2 on the season.

“I think at the end of the day it’s hard for any coach to say it, but I felt that Denver wanted it more than we did,” Kansas head coach Todd Chapman said. “Their fight was better, their energy was better, their emotion was better. They played the big moments like they wanted the big moments, and we played the big moments like we were holding onto something and afraid to lose it, and you can’t do that against a good team. At the end of the day I felt that’s what cost us. We didn’t play the pressure situations the right way, we didn’t approach them the right way, so therefore it’s hard to play them the right way.”

The Jayhawks got ahead early in the dual by taking the doubles point following wins on courts three and one. On court three, freshman Anastasiya Rychagova and sophomore Smith Hinton defeated Denver’s Evy Van Genechten and Charlotte Derbyshire, 6-3. To secure the point, freshmen Nina Khmelnitckaia and Janet Koch served up another, 6-3, win against Julia O’Loughlin and Maureen Slattery on court one.
In singles play, Kansas seemed to have the momentum as senior Maria Jose Cardona blanked Derbyshire, 6-0, 6-0, on court six. Khmelnitckaia pushed the Jayhawks to a, 3-0, lead over the Pioneers with a, 6-2, 6-3, win against DU’s Van Genechten.
Needing just one more win to claim the match, the Jayhawks came up short in the remaining singles matches. Sophomore Summer Collins fell to Denver’s Morgan Barnhill in straight-sets, 6-3, 6-3, as the Pioneers put their first put on the board. 

On court three, Koch narrowly lost the first set, 7-6, but was shut out by Denver’s Slattery, 6-0, in the second set, narrowing the Jayhawks’ lead over the Pioneers to 3-2. After a heated rally on court one, Rychagova couldn’t overcome O’Loughlin of Denver and fell 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. O’Loughlin’s victory moved Denver into a tie in the team scores at 3-3. 
Closing off the dual was Hinton and DU’s Mok on court two. Hinton lost the first set, 3-6, but came back swinging in the second. She came from down, 4-1, to take the second set at 7-5. With the match tied at 1-1, Mok regained control cruising to a 6-0 win in the third and final set, giving the Pioneers the win. 

“We got to have a short term memory from today, we have to take from it what we need to improve on and get better,” Chapman said. “We have to put our focus on Baylor on Wednesday, whether we won today or lost today the approach for Wednesday has to be the same. Obviously, we would have liked to win it, but we didn’t and we will find out something about ourselves come Wednesday. Baylor is a good team their ranking is not where it should to be. They have a had a few injuries early on and have played an extremely tough schedule. It’s definitely not indicative of the team they are. They are a tough team that has the ability to win our conference and they have many times historically, so they will be coming in ready to play us and we have to be excited about the opportunity.”

Up Next
The Jayhawks will play the final match of a seven-match homestand when they welcome Baylor to Lawrence on Wednesday, March 9. The match against the Lady Bears will serve as KU’s 2016 Big 12 Conference opener. First serve is slated for 2:30 p.m., at the Jayhawk Tennis Center. 

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