LSU Falls in SEC Tournament First Round to Kentucky, 4-2
Gainesville, Fla. – The No. 11-seed LSU women’s tennis team (5-14, 4-9 SEC) fell to the No. 14-seed Kentucky Wildcats (13-14, 0-13 SEC) by a score of 4-2 in the first round of the SEC Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex.
“This team has been through so much adversity all season,” co-head coach Michael Sell said. “Despite that, their dedication and competitive spirit never wavered. Most importantly, we are so proud of who they are as people and what great representatives of LSU they are. This was easily one of our favorite teams to be coach and be a part of. We’ll look now to next year and we have no doubt that LSU women’s tennis will be back to competing for big honors come this time next season.”
Rania Azziz and Ena Babic gave the Tigers a fantastic start in doubles play as they took an early lead and only dropped two games enroute to a 6-2 win over Carla Girbau and Lidia Gonzalez at the No. 2 spot.
A ranked win at the No. 1 court for Taylor Bridges and Safiya Carrington over No. 36 Fiona Arrese and Ellie Eades clinched the doubles point for the Tigers. The LSU duo maintained control of the match and strung together consecutive wins to get a 6-3 victory and give LSU a 1-0 lead in the match heading into singles action.
Bridges was the first off the singles courts as she earned a straight set win over doubles-foe Eades at the No. 4 singles spot. A back and forth first set eventually saw Bridges take a late lead and get consecutive games to win 6-4 before only dropping one game in the second to get a 6-1 win and give LSU a 2-0 lead. The singles win is the 7th of the season for Bridges and the final of 58 total singles victories during her time in Purple & Golf.
Kentucky grabbed its first point at the No. 2, where Carlota Molina secured a 6-4, 6-2 win over Nina Geissler.
It was tied at 2-2 moments later as Florence Urrutia defeated No. 104 Carrington in straight sets at the No. 1 spot. The two contested a very close first set and required a tiebreaker to decide it, which Urrutia was able to win by a score of 7-3. The Wildcat carried momentum into the second set and went on to win 6-3 and tie the match up.
The Wildcats took their first lead of the afternoon after Girbau defeated Babic at the No. 3 court. Girbau edged Babic by a score of 7-5 in the first set before keeping control of the second and winning it 6-3 to boost Kentucky to a 3-2 lead on the day.
The clinch came from the No. 6 court, where Maialen Morante defeated Rania Azziz in three sets. Azziz opened the match strong with a 6-3 win in the first set before Morante replied with a 6-2 win in the second to force a decisive third set. Morante took an early lead in the third set before Azziz rallied with consecutive game wins to make it 4-3. Morante recovered her footing and went on to win the next two games to win 6-3 and book the Wildcats’ spot in the second round of the SEC Tournament.
For more information on the LSU women’s tennis program follow the Tigers on Twitter @lsuwten , on Instagram @LSUWTen , and on www.Facebook.com/lsuwten.
#61 Kentucky 4, #66 LSU 2
- Florencia Urrutia (UK) def. #104 Safiya Carrington (LSU) 7-6 (7-3), 6-3
- Carlota Molina (UK) def. Nina Geissler (LSU) 6-4, 6-2
- Carla Girbau (UK) def. Ena Babic (LSU) 7-5, 6-3
- Taylor Bridges (LSU) def. Ellie Eades (UK) 6-4, 6-1
- Mia Rabinowitz (LSU) vs. Lidia Gonzalez (UK) 7-5, 4-6, 1-3, unfinished
- Maialen Morante (UK) def. Rania Azziz (LSU) 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
- Safiya Carrington/Taylor Bridges (LSU) def. #36 Fiona Arrese/Ellie Eades (UK) 6-3
- Ena Babic/Rania Azziz (LSU) def. Carla Girbau/Lidia Gonzalez (UK) 6-2
- Nina Geissler/Mia Rabinowitz (LSU) vs. Florencia Urrutia/Carlota Molina (UK) 3-5, unfinished
Kentucky 13-14 (0-13 SEC); National ranking #61
LSU 5-14 (4-9 SEC); National ranking #66
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (4,2,1,3,6)