Toran Ribes, Jayhawks dig deep for 4-3 win over NC State

Nina Khmelnitckaia set the tone for the Kansas comeback with her 6-2, 6-3 singles win. 

Kansas 4, NC State 3
J.W. Isenhour Center
Raleigh, N.C.

February 3, 2017


No. 1 Frantova/Rogers (NCSU) def. Khmelnitckaia/Bernard-Feigenbaum (KU) 6-0
No. 2 Bianca/Wiktorin (NCSU) def. Koch/Rychagova (KU) 6-4
No. 3 Toran Ribes/Nikolaeva (KU) vs. Rebol/Stenta (NCSU) 5-4 DNF

Order of Finish: 1,2


No. 1 #36 Frantova (NCSU) def. #65 Rychagova (KU) 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
No. 2 Koch (KU) def. Wiktorin (NCSU) 5-7, 6-3, 6-3
No. 3 Bernard-Feigenbaum (KU) def. Reami (NCSU) 6-3, 4-6, 6-1
No. 4 Khmelnitckaia (KU) def. Rogers (NCSU) 6-2, 6-3
No. 5 Toran Ribes (KU) def. Moldovan (NCSU) 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
No. 6 Rebol (NCSU) def. Nikolaeva (KU) 6-0, 6-2

Order of Finish: 4, 1, 2, 3, 6, 5
 Stats Box Score (.PDF)

RALEIGH, N.C. – With only four available courts and her team falling on the short end of the doubles point, Kansas freshman Maria Toran Ribes sat and waited for an open court to see if her services were even going to be needed at No. 5 singles Friday afternoon against North Carolina State. It turned out Toran Ribes was needed for a full three sets as the she gutted out a 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 win to push the Jayhawks a 4-3 victory at the J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center, giving KU its second victory over an Atlantic Coast Conference team in the span of a week.
“I couldn’t be happier with how we responded all match long,” head coach Todd Chapman said. “NC State is a good team and to lose the doubles point, fight back all afternoon long and pull out a tough road win this early in the season says a lot about this team’s character.”
After dropping the doubles point, Kansas (3-1) sophomore Nina Khmelnitckaia made relative quick work of the Wolfpack’s Anna Rogers with a 6-2, 6-3 win at No. 4 singles to tie the match, 1-1. The win was Khmelnitckaia’s fourth straight and the eighth of her last nine.
“Nina really did a great job of getting us an early point and taking back NC State’s momentum from the doubles,” Chapman said.
NC State (3-2) regained the lead after No. 36-ranked Martina Frantova downed No. 65-ranked Anastastia Rychagova 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) in a hard fought two-set match. The loss was Rychagova’s fifth of the year and only her second two-set defeat.
The overall match lead was short-lived as Kansas’ Janet Koch and Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum each rallied for three-set victories. At No. 2 singles, Koch topped Claudia Wiktorin, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, while Bernard-Feigenbaum rattled off a 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 victory at No. 3. With a 3-2 lead, Kansas turned to its freshmen Toran Ribes and Tatiana Nikolaeva.
NC State’s Amanda Rebol downed Nikolaeva in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2, at No. 6 to tie the overall match, 3-3, setting the stage for Toran Ribes’ heroics. Three-set matches are nothing new for Toran Ribes, as she leads the team with nine of them on the season and she has fared well with a 6-3 mark in three-set matches.
“I am really happy with how Janet, Tess and Maria each played their third sets,” Chapman said. “They played to win and competed really well.”
In doubles play, Khmelnitckaia and Bernard-Feignbaum lost for only the fourth time this season with a 6-0 defeat to Frantova and Rogers. The Wolfpack won the doubles point after Moldovan and Wiktorin downed Rychagova and Koch, 6-4.

“At some spots (during Friday’s match) we may not have played our best tennis, but we found a way to respond,” Chapman said. “We will enjoy the result and start preparing for another tough road test.”  

Kansas continues its road trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, where the Jayhawks will face William & Mary Sunday at the McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center at 10 a.m., CT, marking their fourth-straight opponent that earned a berth to the 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championship. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.