NASHVILLE -- A powerful singles performance from senior Morgan Chumney pushed the No. 19 Kentucky women's tennis team past Ole Miss, 4-3, on Thursday evening in the second round of the Southeastern Conference Championships inside the Currey Tennis Center. The Wildcats improve to 16-7, 7-6 SEC, while the Rebels drop to 14-13, 3-10 SEC.
With the match tied at three, the Wildcats needed a victory from Chumney to advance to Friday's quarterfinals. The senior delivered, hammering out a win in straight sets to clinch the match.
"I am so grateful for the way our squad competed tonight," said head coach Carlos Drada. "We all look forward to a great opportunity tomorrow and hope to learn from today's performance."
Similar to the regular-season match between the two teams, Ole Miss grabbed the first point in the match with two quick doubles victories.
Despite the sluggish start in doubles, Kentucky turned things around in singles by taking all five first sets. Sophomore Justina Mikulskyte was the first to capitalize, picking up a victory in straight sets to even the score at one. Sophomore Akvile Parazinskaite followed suit, taking a 6-3, 7-5 triumph over No. 78 Natalie Suk to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead in the match.
After battling her way through a second-set tiebreak, junior Emily Fanning lengthened Kentucky's lead to two, downing Ole Miss' Anna Vrbenska, 6-4, 7-5 (7) on court four.
On courts one and three, both Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi faced third sets as Ole Miss fought their way to second-set victories. In both matches, the Wildcats came up short, once again knotting the match at three. From there, Chumney took the reigns, cruising to a 6-4, 6-2 triumph to give Kentucky the team victory.
The Wildcats will be back in action tomorrow to face fourth-seeded South Carolina in the quarterfinals. Once again, the match is slated for a 6 p.m. CT start.