Women's Tennis Earns First Big 12 Victory at TCU, 4-3

by Logan Hasselbach

FORT WORTH, Texas – Grit and dedication. These two themes have been guiding the UCF women’s tennis team throughout its inaugural Big 12 Conference dual-matches season and have never been more prevalent than they were Sunday night. Going down 3-0 due to UCF retirements, the team powered through and won four consecutive singles courts to earn its first Big 12 win in program history, 4-3.

The Knights dropped the doubles point on court two, but put that behind them entering singles play, winning half of the first sets played.

Sophia Biolay, who is ranked No. 106 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association singles poll, was reliable as ever on court two. The captain showed her reliability and strength throughout her match, never losing determination when trailing 0-40. The Reims, France, native got off to a slower start than she wanted, both players holding serve to 3-3. Biolay broke away and never looked back, taking her first set 6-3. After returning to court, the junior maintained the same energy and hunger she ended the first set with. She never appeared to falter in her march through the second set, never letting off the gas pedal. Ever determined, Biolay put the first point of the afternoon on the board for the Knights, winning her fifth-straight singles match 6-3, 6-0. 

The next Knight to put a point on the board was fellow captain Jantje Tilbuerger. The sophomore found herself entangled in a back-and-forth battle at court four. The opponents took their time sizing each other up, looking for weaknesses with neither breaking serve. In both sets, as the Horned Frog attempted to even things out at 3-3  on serve, the captain took the lead to go up 4-3 instead. The two held serve in all remaining games, allowing the sophomore to take the match 6-4, 6-4 to put the Knights one point closer to TCU. Tilbuerger has appeared to have found her footing at the fourth singles position, this win marking her third-consecutive straight-set victory at the court.

Anique Kattenberg got off her singles play to a slow start. The captain struggled with her serve and dropped the first set 6-2. Not letting this deter her from the mission ahead, she retaliated with a two-break set, 6-3, to go the distance with her Horned Frog opponent on court five. TCU, still within just one point of clinching the match, was not going to go down without a fight. Kattenberg, a redshirt-junior, went down early in the third set, falling to 3-0. With the themes of grit and determination sticking in her head, she fought back to even things up at 3-3. From there, it was an exchange of service holds until the captain went up a break 5-4, set to serve for the match. Kattenberg fell 0-30 in the final game but fought back to win the two pressure points and the match 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to put the Knights within one point of victory.


Noel Saidenova was the other Knight to just narrowly drop her first set (6-4) but appeared to let bygones be bygones entering the second. The match on court three between Saidenova and No. 112 Destinee Martins was a battle, neither player getting more than two games ahead of her opponent. The second set went the way of the Knights (6-4), with the Saint-Petersburg, Russia, native forcing a third set in as many matches.

All eyes turned to court three, with the clinching point for both teams on the line. The third set was the same battle that both Saidenova and Martins had gotten used to thus far in the match, neither opponent pulling far ahead of the other. At deuce point, 4-4, Martins serving, the momentum shifted. Saidenova’s offense proved to be too much for TCU, launching a forehand past the baseline to put UCF within one game of its first Big 12 win. The match returned to a deuce point, this time with the win on the line. Both teams held their breaths as the marathon of a rally played out. Both players approached the net, ready to volley for the match. The Knight saw an opportunity and dropped a forehand just outside of Martins reach, sealing the match for UCF.

Saidenova pulled through just when her team needed her, forever etching herself into history as the Knight to clinch the first Big 12 victory in program history.



The Knights return home to the USTA National Campus next weekend for their penultimate homestand of the Big 12 season. The squad will get the chance to avenge its ITA Kickoff Weekend loss to No. 20 Oklahoma Friday, March 15 at 6 p.m. A top-10 opponent closes out the homestand Sunday, when No. 6 Texas comes to town, with first serve against the Longhorns slated for noon.

UCF 4, TCU 3


Chiho Mushika & Tu-Chin Tsai (TCU) vs. Anique Kattenberg & Noel Saidenova (UCF) – 5-4 unf

Jade Otway & Isabel Pascual (TCU) def. Sophia Biolay & Jantje Tilbuerger (UCF) – 6-2

Destinee Martins & Helena Narmont (TCU) def. Olivia Lincer & Mihaela Tsoneva (UCF) – by forfeit


Jade Otway (TCU) def. Olivia Lincer (UCF) – 1-2, default

#106 Sophia Biolay (UCF) def. Isabel Pascual (TCU) – 6-3, 6-0

Noel Saidenova (UCF) def. #112 Destinee Martins (TCU) – 4-6, 6-4, 6-4

Jantje Tilbuerger (UCF) def. Yu-Chin Tsai (TCU) – 6-4, 6-4

Anique Kattenberg (UCF) def. Helena Narmont (TCU) – 2-6, 6-3, 6-4

Raquel Caballero (TCU) def. Mihaela Tsoneva (UCF) – forfeit

Order of Finish:

Doubles – 3,2

Singles – 6,1,2,4,5,3