Wildcats win SEC Tournament Round One vs. MS State
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - No. 11 Kentucky women's tennis took care of business in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament eliminating No. 14 Mississippi State, 4-1 on Wednesday at the Billingsley Tennis Center.
Only dropping the doubles point eight times this season, the Cats were no stranger to starting the match off the right way clinching the point. On Court 2, the pair of Ellie Eades and Florencia Urrutia were the first to take down their Bulldog opponents, 6-2. Trending in the right direction, No. 22-ranked doubles pair of Carlota Molina and Elizabeth Stevens sealed the deal with a 6-2 win to put the Cats up one.
Entering singles play with the advantage, Kentucky continued to fight toward a first-round win. Molina was the first to sweep her opponent, 6-2, 6-2, on Court 3. She was joined on the scoreboard by freshman Zoe Hammond who was victorious on Court 5, 6-3, 6-3.
In a ranked battle on Court 1, No. 42 Urrutia struggled to come out on top against No. 68 Emma Antonaki. She fell to her Bulldog foe, 4-6, 3-6. However, the setback did not faze the Cats as Stevens clinched the Wildcat W on Court 2 with a 7-5, 6-3 sweep.
The 4-1 Kentucky victory advanced the program to the second round of the tournament. In the regular season, the Cats faced the Gamecocks in Columbia, S.C. but fell in the match, 3-4.
Last year, the Wildcats began the SEC Tournament with a victory over LSU, 4-2, to advance to the second day of competition. However, Kentucky's tournament run ended in the second round with a loss to South Carolina, 1-4.
#57 Kentucky 4, Mississippi State 1
1. #22 Carlota Molina/Elizabeth Stevens (UK) def. Gia Cohen/Maddie Bemisderfer (MS) 6-4
2. Ellie Eades/Florence Urrutia (UK) def. Emma Antonaki/Dharani Niroshan (MS) 6-2
3. Alexandra Mikhailuk/Sydney Hrehor (MS) def. Zoe Hammond/Lidia Gonzalez (UK) 5-4
1. #68 Emma Antonaki (MS) def. #42 Florence Urrutia (UK) 6-4, 6-3
2. #118 Elizabeth Stevens (UK) def. Gia Cohen (MS) 7-5, 6-3
3. Carlota Molina (UK) def. Dharani Niroshan (MS) 6-2, 6-2
4. Lidia Gonzalez (UK) vs. Alexandra Mikhailuk (MS) 3-6, 6-2, unfinished
5. Zoe Hammond (UK) def. Emily Surcey (MS) 6-3, 6-3
6. Maialen Morante (UK) vs. Maria Rizzolo (MS) 5-7, 2-4, unfinished
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (3,5,1,2)
UK will take on 6-seed South Carolina on Thursday at 3 p.m. EST. Eliminating the Wildcats last season in the second round of the conference tournament, Kentucky looks for redemption against the Gamecocks to change the previous postseason narrative.