Lauren Jones played excellent tennis on her way to a two-set win against Kansas State. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The Cougars took the lead early and didn't look back, as the No. 20 BYU women's tennis team (6-3) handed No. 66 Kansas State (2-2) a 6-1 loss Saturday at the BYU Indoor Tennis Courts. Aside from the Cougars coming out victorious, the other positive was Jennifer Miccoli made her season debut in singles for the Cougars.
Although Miccoli had competed in doubles for BYU for most of the season, she hadn't yet played singles, as she was slowly working her way back from a knee injury. Her return, however, was bittersweet. The team was thrilled to be back at full strength, but Miccoli lost a heartbreaking match that came down to a third-set tiebreaker. Miccoli took the first set 6-4 and even had her opponent, Olga Klimova, at match point. But down the stretch she wasn't able to hold on and lost the tiebreaker 12-10. Even so, Coach Craig Manning said it was great just having Miccoli back in the lineup.
"It's nice to be back at full strength," Manning said. "I'm excited to see what well be able to do now."
Miccoli's loss, however, didn't alter the outcome, and the Cougars rolled to the 6-1 win. The pace was set early on in doubles action, when Olga Boulytcheva and Sofia Holden got out to a quick 7-2 lead and then held off the Wildcat duo of Maria Perevoschikova and Tamar Kvaratskhelia for the 8-5 victory. Helping them clinch the doubles point for the Cougars were Miccoli and partner Anastasia Sourkova, who moved their season record to 7-1 with an 8-6 victory on court No. 1.
The Cougars continued playing well in singles, outplaying the Wildcats on five-of-six courts and winning all five matches in straight sets. Junior Lauren Jones played splendid tennis, taking control of the match and cruising to a quick 6-2, 6-1 victory over Jessica Simosa. Manning said he was pleased by the way Jones played, and credited her success to focus on the court and attention to her fundamentals. Those qualities were evident in the team as a whole as well.
"Everyone played well today, and it's not often that a whole team plays well," Manning said. 'We played excellent fundamental tennis, and everyone did what they were asked to do and what they wanted to do."
BYU will take its fundamental style on the road next week, traveling first to Wisconsin, then Indiana. The Cougars face Wisconsin on Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. CST and Notre Dame Feb. 25 at 11 a.m. CST.
BYU 6 Kansas State 1
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3
1. Sourkova/Miccoli (BYU) def. Simosa/Kudlackova (KSU) 8-6
2. Boulytcheva/Holden (BYU) def. Perevoschikova/Kvaratskhelia (KSU) 8-5
3. Da Valle/Klimova (KSU) def. Jones/Chang (BYU) 8-6
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2, 4, 5, 6
1. Olga Boulytcheva (BYU) def. Tamar Kvaratskhelia (KSU) 6-1, 6-3
2. Lauren Jones (BYU) def. Jessica Simosa (KSU) 6-2, 6-1
3. Anastasia Sourkova (BYU) def. Maria Perevoschikova (KSU) 6-3, 6-1
4. Sofia Holden (BYU) def. Katerina Kudlackova (KSU) 6-2, 6-1
5. Dolly Chang (BYU) def. Fernanda Da Valle (KSU) 6-3, 6-1
6. Olga Klimova (KSU) def. Jennifer Miccoli (BYU) 4-6, 7-5, 1-0 (12-10)