Wildcats Advance To NCAA Round of 16 With 4-2 Win
May 11, 2003
EVANSTON, Ill. - The Cinderella season for the Kansas State tennis team continued Sunday afternoon when it upset ninth-ranked and previously unbeaten Virginia Commonwealth 4-2 in Sunday's regional finals of the 2003 NCAA Division I Team Tennis Tournament at Combe Tennis Center on the Northwestern University campus. The victory was the second straight over a Top 20 program in as many days and advances the Wildcats to the NCAA Round of 16.
Kansas State will play Southern California Thursday at Ring Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville.
"Unbelievable," K-State head coach Steve Bietau said. "It's hard to describe. The thing that keeps happening is this team keeps surprising us. We've known for a long time that it's a special group away from the tennis court. It's a special group in terms of school and being great students and now they're turning into a special group on the court."
The Wildcats' victory over the Rams sets a school record for most wins in a single season with 15 and marks just the third time K-State has won a NCAA team match. Kansas State improves to 15-7 and VCU ends its season at 24-1.
Sophomore Andrea Cooper clinched the victory for K-State at number five singles by beating Cristina Gago, 6-4, 6-4. Freshman Jessica Simosa picked up the third point for the Wildcats at number three singles as she recorded a 6-3, 7-6 (5) triumph over Beatriz Cabrera, the nation's 113rd-ranked player. Simosa trailed 5-0 in the second set tie-breaker but came back to win seven straight points to win the set and the match.
K-State's second point came from junior Paulina Castillejos at number six singles. In the first set, Castillejos trailed 3-1 before rallying to win five of the next six games to win, 6-4. Her momentum carried over into the second set as Castillejos cruised to a 6-1 victory over Ana Franco Lopez.
VCU held a 2-1 lead after 41st-ranked Barbora Zahnova downed K-State Petra Sedlmajerova, 6-1, 6-1, at number one singles. At number four singles, VCU's Silvia Urickova recorded a 6-0, 6-2, win over Hayley McIver.
Kansas State first got on the scoreboard by winning the doubles point, riding the success of its number two and three teams.
Sedlmajerova and Castillejos lost 8-2 to 20th-ranked Urickova and Zahnova at number one. K-State's McIver and Cooper evened the when they defeated Marina Escobar Martinez and Cabrera, 8-6, at number two. The doubles point came down to Maria Rosenberg and Simosa winning at number three. The pair led 6-4 before splitting the next two games. The Wildcats' duo won two-straight points in the final game for the 8-5 win and the match's first point.