Women's Tennis Tops No. 54 Kansas in Final Regular Season Contest, 4-3

by Logan Hasselbach

LAWRENCE, Kan. – In the final match of its inaugural Big 12 Conference regular season, the No. 55 UCF women’s tennis team earned a come-from-behind victory over No. 54 Kansas. The Knights demonstrated immense fight to finish conference play above .500.

The Jayhawks jumped out to an early lead after taking the doubles point on courts one and two, but the Knights were not content going down without a fight. The players at the top courts quickly took care of business, with both Sophia Biolay and Olivia Lincer at courts one and three, respectively, blanked their KU opponents 6-0 to open up singles play. Noel Saidenova, who was ranked No. 97 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association singles poll, was the next Knight to finish up her first set with a strong 6-3 decision. Anique Kattenberg and Jantje Tilbuerger followed shortly behind, both earning 7-5 first set victories.

Lincer closed out her first regular season in the Black and Gold in the win column, as she secured the first UCF point of the day at court three. The freshman tied the match up at one thanks to her fourth conference win of the season and second of the weekend. After a stellar 6-0 first set, her Jayhawk opponent put up more of a fight, not allowing Lincer to get a break until everything was tied up 5-5. The Klodzko, Poland, native earned the break to put her up 6-5 and sealed her match with a serve for her second-consecutive singles win (6-0, 7-5).

Saidenova continued to show leadership in her final season as a Knight, giving the squad the lead with a win on court two. After a close 6-3 first set, the Saint-Petersburg, Russia, native pulled out to an early lead, earning another straight-set conference victory, 6-3, 6-2, to put UCF up 2-1 overall. Saidenova now has a team-leading eight match unbeaten streak at both the one and two singles position.

The second set on court one between Biolay and No. 106 Gracie Mulville could not have been more opposite compared to the first. With Biolay taking the first set 6-0, Mulville was not going down quietly. The two went back-and-forth, exchanging holds, to send the second set to a tiebreak. The Knights junior locked in and demonstrated why she plays at the top singles position, taking the second set and the match, 6-0, 7-6(3). Now with 12 singles wins on the season, Biolay has set a new single season record for herself, eclipsing the 10-win mark set last season. The win marked Biolay’s third ranked victory of the season, previously defeating the 104th- and 72nd-ranked singles players from Florida International and Oklahoma.

Kansas retaliated, tacking on three-set wins from courts four and six. All eyes turned to Kattenberg, who was going the distance on court five. The first two sets of the clash had both been decisive 7-5 decisions, with the first going the way of UCF and the second, KU. With the final match having direct implications in the seeding of the Big 12 Championship next week, the pressure was on to find the clinching point. Kattenberg allowed just two holds for the Jayhawk and earned two breaks herself en route to the dominant 6-2 third set victory.


The Knights travel to Stillwater, Okla. for their first Big 12 Championship Wednesday, April 17. The draw for the tournament is to be announced.