Women's Tennis Triumphs Over Kansas in Big 12 Championship Opener, 4-2

by Logan Hasselbach

STILLWATER, Okla. – Resilience. This is the word that head coach Bryan Koniecko consistently uses to describe his team. The opening match of the 2024 Big 12 Championship for the UCF women’s tennis team required a lot of resilience and, just like they do, the Knights pulled through to top Kansas, 4-2, and advance to the quarterfinals of the championship.

It’s nice to get to battle with this team for another day, we really wanted to play one more day together and it’s just a testament as to how hard they fight. This team wants to win really badly for each other, and they got it done today.

Bryan KonieckoHead Coach

In contrast to the match against Kansas played last Sunday, doubles started off hot for UCF, with Anique Kattenberg and Noel Saidenova taking an early 4-0 lead at court one. KU took court three early, but the Knights quickly rebounded to knot it up at one point apiece thanks to a dominant 6-1 win at court one.

Court two was a back-and-forth battle, where neither duo was going down without a fight. The match came down to a tiebreak after numerous deuce points in the games leading up to it, with Jantje Tilbuerger and Sophia Biolay set on bringing home the doubles point. Just as with the rest of the match, the tiebreak was closely contested, but the Knights emerged victorious, 7-6 (5), to secure an early lead.

The early advantage did not last long, however, with the Knights winning just two first sets and Kansas quickly taking courts two and six to gain its first lead of the evening. But, just as UCF does, the team buckled down and got to work, not content with leaving Stillwater just yet. Freshman standout Olivia Lincer was the first to strike in singles play, taking down Janse Van Vuuren in straight sets once more, 6-4, 7-5. The Klodzko, Poland, native brings her freshman year singles win tally to seven matches, the most since Saidenova in 2022.

With the match tied at 2-2, the pressure was on to see who would move next. After dropping the first set, 6-3, Kattenberg did not appear to falter. The redshirt junior demonstrated why she was voted captain at the beginning of the season, winning both the second and third sets 6-2 to put the Knights within one point of clinching. She remains a perfect 3-0 in the month of April and boasts a team-leading eight-match undefeated streak. The Satellite Beach, Florida, native has also reached double-digit singles wins for the first time in her career.

Co-captain Biolay, who recently reemerged in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association singles rankings at No. 125, was locked in a tight battle with No. 110 Gracie Mulville, who she also played Sunday afternoon. Biolay took the first set 6-2, but the Jayhawk struck back in the second to force a third set. All eyes turned to court one, where it looked like the clinching point would come from. Both players fought as hard as they could and it appeared that either student-athlete could triumph. Kattenberg completed her match as Biolay tied 4-4 with Mulville and that seemed to give her the motivation she needed to cap off the match. The junior broke KU’s serve for the first time that set and executed her serve perfectly to secure the hold, her match victory and the overall victory (6-2, 4-6, 6-4).


The Knights set their sights to Thursday evening when they play the host and top seed No. 1 Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. ET. The two last saw each other on UCF’s Senior Knight April 7, which saw the Cowgirls emerge victorious, 4-3, at the USTA National Campus.