ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – UCF’s No. 26 Valeriya Zeleva and Ksenia Kuznetsova fell in their second-round match against UNC’s No. 12 Makenna Jones and Cameron Morra by a score of 5-7, 6-7 (6-8) in the sweet 16 of the NCAA Doubles Championships.
The contest was one of streaks. Early on, UCF’s dynamic duo jumped out to a 4-0 lead as the Knights picked up breaks in games two and four of the first set. The No. 12 pair in the nation didn’t go away quietly in the first set as they came racing back to collect five straight games and take a 5-4 lead. Zeleva and Kuznetsova tied the first set at 5-5 in the next game, but ultimately fell 5-7 in set number one.
The second set started much like the first frame. UCF earned another break and stormed out to a 3-0 lead before seeing UNC come right back to tie the second set at three all. Zeleva and Kuznetsova won two straight games to put themselves in position to take the second set, but UNC again came back to win three straight games.
The Knights rebounded from UNC’s comeback and got the second set to a tiebreaker. Zeleva and Kuznetsova found themselves down 2-5 in the tiebreaker session but found a way to get back into it. They rallied for three straight points to even up the tiebreaker at 5-5. UNC went up one only to see UCF match with one of their own. Following the side change, UNC collected the final two points they needed to win a very close sweet-16 match.
Zeleva and Kuznetsova will end their season with a record of 15-6 and a 4-5 mark against ranked doubles pairs. This season was Kuznetsova's second trip to the NCAA Doubles Championships and the first time she was able to win a match in the tournament. Kunzetsova will have a chance to make it a perfect 3-for-3 in NCAA Doubles appearances next season in her junior year.
GET THE APP
Never miss any UCF Knights news from your favorite team by downloading the free UCF Knights app right to your iOS or Android phone! The app provides personalized information for men's and women's teams, scores, schedules, loyalty programs and even breaking news.