No. 16 Kansas opens dual play with victory over No. 19 Northwestern
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas tennis opened the spring dual-match season with a top-25 victory over Northwestern, 5-2, Sunday afternoon at the Jayhawk Tennis Center. The Jayhawks swept the No. 19 Wildcats with two doubles wins, earning their first point of the day, and three-straight singles victories to give Kansas an insurmountable 4-0 lead.
Malkia Ngounoue and Maria Toran Ribes triumphed over Northwestern’s Inci Ogut and Rheeya Doshi, 6-3. The Jayhawks’ No. 27-ranked doubles team of Anastasia Rychagova and Sonia Smagina found themselves down 3-4 against NU’s Julie Bryne and Hannah McColgan, but they won three straight games to win the set, giving the Jayhawks the doubles point.
Kansas’ No. 5 ranked senior duo of Nina Khmelnitckaia and Janet Koch’s match against Northwestern’s Clarissa Hand and Lee Or ended unfinished with the Jayhawks leading 5-4, since the Jayhawks had clinched the doubles point.
In singles play, Khmelnitckaia gave the Jayhawks their second point of the day as she bested Northwestern’s Doshi, 6-0, 7-6(2).
No. 109-ranked Jayhawk Rychagova triumphed over Northwestern’s No. 100-ranked Clarissa Hand, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, giving the Jayhawks a 3-0 lead.
After falling in the first set, Kansas freshman Ngounoue roared back to defeat Northwestern’s Ogut, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, clinching the Jayhawks’ first victory of the season.
Following her doubles match that ended unfinished, Koch, ranked No. 34 in nation by the ITA, battled Northwestern’s Julie Bryne but came up short, 4-6, 6-3, 4-6.
Kansas junior Toran Ribes was defeated by Northwestern’s Caroline Pozo, 6-2, 2-6, 3-6.
Plipuech gave Kansas its final point of the day as she bested Northwestern’s Lee Or, 5-7, 7-6(1), 10-6 in the super tiebreaker to close out the match.
Kansas head coach Todd Chapman
“It was a tough battle, which we expected that coming in. Northwestern’s such a good program and well coached. We knew it was going to be tough and physical and that is exactly what it was. Doubles wise it was that way, and every singles match was tough. I think the exciting thing for us is whether or not we played our best tennis in certain spots, we just did not go away. All the girls kept competing, fighting and battling against a storied program and well-coached team. I am proud of the girls and proud of our fight.”
Kansas senior Nina Khmelnitckaia
“I think it was important to carry the same momentum from doubles to singles. We finished strong in the doubles point and had great energy and I knew I had to start that way in singles.”
Kansas tennis will travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma to participate in the ITA Kickoff-Weekend. The Jayhawks open the tournament against No. 21 Illinois Friday, January 25, at 1 p.m., at the Greenwood Tennis Center.