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K-State wins first Sunflower Showdown since 2014 in dramatic fashion




MANHATTAN, Kan. It had been eight years since the Kansas State women’s tennis team had defeated their Kansas State rival in the Sunflower Showdown, and it took a special second-year effort. Ioana Gheorghita to help land the game, 4-3, Saturday (April 3) afternoon at Mike Goss Tennis Stadium.

In a back-and-forth affair, three different tiebreakers took place during the game, leading to Gheorghita’s final stamp on Kansas’ Tiffany Lagarde, 7-5, 6-7 (1-7), 6-4, on court five. K-State (7-7, 2-3 Big 12) had been in that position before, but the victory from behind over the Jayhawks (7-8, 1-3 Big 12) showed the Wildcats can beat anybody. who at Home.

“It has been since 2014 that we have beaten this team,” said the head coach Jordan smith. “Ioana (Gheorghita) in the spotlight, she’s been on fire all year. I give her a lot of credit. She lost to KU a few weeks ago and came back and won it for us.

“This victory gives us a lot of confidence. We have shown that we are the hardest workers today. We have been through so many times that we have failed. We have to be prepared to go out there and put that aside and be tough, and that helped today. “

Gheorghita quickly took the lead in his match against Lagarde, snatching the first set at 7-5, to finally give the second set with a tie breaker of 6-7 (1-7). The third set was the one where the native of Ploiesti, Romania, performed, perhaps, the biggest fluctuations of her college career. Lagarde and Gheorghita faced off in the final set, but Gheorghita found some light towards the end, taking two straight games to end the Jayhawks, 6-4.

It was a moment Gheorghita will never forget.

“I’m so excited and tired at the same time,” Gheorghita said. “I’ll probably realize what happened later. The main thing that came to my mind was’ the next point, the next point”. I would try to stay positive throughout the game. It was the best sensation in college tennis. “

Smith also had his contribution on Gheorghita’s resilience.

“(She) was meant for this,” Smith said. “It was the opportunity she had to show up and do that. Any type of doubt could have crept into his head. We said, ‘This girl is tired, you can go over there and take that away from her, and she did. ‘She went over there and won that game. “

This Gheorghita Crunch-Time Outing Would Never Have Been Possible Without Year Two Wins Karine-Marion Jobsand juniors Maria linares and Anna turco in the singles game. All three players sent their opponents in straight sets each to help K-State clear their way into the game.

Job started the rally for the Wildcats at the top of the roster, as the Lyon, France product defeated Kansas’ Sonia Smagina for the first time in a two-game scenario with a 6-0, 6- 4.

“It helped a lot that KJ (Karine-Marion Jobs) came out on fire and claimed their very first victory over KU’s Smagina, ”said Smith.

In 6th place, Turco recorded the second point of the game, edging Julia Deming of the Jayhawks in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1. The victory improved Turco’s record to 4-1 for sixth place this season.

“Anna (Turco) came out on fire, brought us back 2-1,” said Smith.

Struggling with an ITA-ranked opponent on short two, Linares ended up gaining the upper hand against Kansas’ No.102 Malkia Ngounoue and earned her second victory over the Jayhawks ace in 2021 in straight sets, 6-4 ,
7-6 (7).

“Maria (Linares) was tough on the home stretch,” said Smith. “She beat this girl twice in two weeks. Thanks to Maria, who went through it all and pulled her out anyway.”

Even though they dropped the double point, the Wildcats found some bright spots before heading into intermission after the early deficit. Turco and teammate Margot Decker found their chemistry from over a year ago to lock in a set-back victory over short three over Kansas’ Tiffany Lagarde and Carmen Roxana Manu, 6-2.

“Margot (Decker) and Anna (Turco) double-killed him,” Smith said.

Senior twinning Little Barzo and Manami ukita lost their perfect doubles streak when they faced the Jayhawks’ Malkia Ngounoue and Julia Deming, falling short two, 1-6. The loss brought Barzo and Ukita’s pair down to 7-1 over the year.

Kansas managed to win the first point of the Sunflower Showdown with the help of Sonia Smagina and Vasiliki Karvouni, who beat Linares and Job in first place with a tiebreaker of 7-6 (7).

Still undefeated at home, K-State will stake their spotless home record next week with two decisive clashes against No.9 Baylor (17-3, 4-1 Big 12) on Friday, April 9 at 3 p.m. CT. and then again on Sunday, April 11 at 11 a.m. CT vs. No.2 Texas (18-1, 5-0 Big 12).

“We are undefeated at home,” Gheorghtia said. “I think it will boost the team for the rest of the season. The coaches said this is our opportunity. If we’re at home we just have to work hard, and that’s what we did ( today).”

K-State vs. No.44 Kansas
April 3, 2021
Mike Goss Tennis Stadium

Playing doubles
Order of arrival: 3, 2, 1

1. Sonia Smagina / Vasiliki Karvouni (KAN) beats. Karine-Marion Jobs/Maria linares (KSU) 7-6 (7-4)
2. Malkia Ngounoue / Julia Deming (KAN) beat. Lilla Barzo /Manami ukita (KSU) 6-1
3. Margot Decker/Anna turco (KSU) def. Tiffany Lagarde / Carmen Roxana Manu (KAN) 6-2

Singles play:
Order of arrival: 1, 6, 3, 4, 2, 5

1. Karine-Marion Jobs (KSU) def. Sonia Smagina (KAN) 6-0, 6-4
2. Maria linares (KSU) def. # 102 Malkia Ngounoue (KAN) 6-4, 7-6 (7-1)
3. Carmen Roxana Manu (KAN) beats. Manami ukita (KSU) 6-4, 6-4
4. Vasiliki Karvouni (KAN) beats. Lilla Barzo (KSU) 6-3, 6-4
5. Ioana Gheorghita (KSU) def. Tiffany Lagarde (KAN) 7-5, 6-7 (1-7), 6-4
6. Anna turco (KSU) def. Julia Deming (KAN) 6-3, 6-1

For the latest news on K-State tennis, follow @kstatesports and @KStateTEN on Twitter or K-State Women’s Tennis on Facebook.

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