EVANSTON, Ill. (UCFKnights.com) – The No. 22 UCF women’s tennis team knocked off their first ranked opponent this season as they defeated the No. 23 Tulsa Golden Hurricane by a score of 4-1. The victory also represents the first conference win for the Knights.
“We snuck out a doubles point today which helped the momentum for us going into singles,” said head coach Bryan Koniecko, “We have a lot of respect for Tulsa because of their fight. They began to make a comeback in some second sets today but we responded from yesterday’s loss and were able to close today. We are getting better match to match and that’s the only thing that matters.”
Doubles competition was intense as all three courts saw their fair share of lead changes and ties. Tulsa struck first on court two as Martha Matoula and Shura Poppe of Tulsa defeated Domenika Turkovic and Marie Mattel 6-3. In that moment, UCF was trailing on courts one and three by a count of 6-5. Both courts came back to lock their matches up at six all. Rebeka Stolmar and Nandini Sharma took court three over Marina Davtyan and Megan Hopton 7-6 (7-4) to even doubles.
That left court one, where Ksenia Kuznetsova and Valeriya Zeleva were battling the No. 4 doubles pair in the nation of Martina Okalova and Vera Ploner. Kuznetsova and Zeleva trailed 4-1 early in their doubles match but fought back to go up 5-4. Okalova and Ploner didn’t go down without a fight and pulled back into the lead at 6-5. From there, UCF would take court one and win the doubles point with a 7-6 (7-4) victory.
The Knights rode the momentum of their doubles victory into the first set where Five of six singles courts won their first frame. Mattel was the first one to clinch a singles point for the Black and Gold as she defeated Ploner 6-3, 6-2. That win puts Mattel at 5-0 on the season in singles play.
Next to clinch was Sharma on court six as she downed her opponent Ariana Capogrosso in two sets. Sharma commanded set one and took it 6-0 before taking set two 6-4. Just after Sharma won her match, Matoula edged Stolmar on court two 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 to give Tulsa their lone point of the match.
Zeleva coasted to a 6-3 victory in set one against Okalova on court one. Okalova didn’t go down easy as the two dueled into a tiebreaker. Zeleva would move to a perfect 5-0 by taking set two 7-6 (7-5).
The two other matches that went unfinished were both led by the Knights. Kuznetsova took the first set 6-2 and was leading Poppe at the No. 3 spot in their second set 6-5. Kuznetsova was just barley beat to finishing her match by Zeleva for the clincher.
Court five was the other unfinished court as Turkovic was in a tussle with Megan hopton. Turkovic won set one 7-6 (7-5) before dropping set two 3-6. At the match’s conclusion, Turkovic was up 4-0 in set three.
The Knights will return home for a match up with the Baylor Bears on Feb. 3 at noon. The match will take place at the UCF Collegiate Tennis Center at the USTA National Campus.