BATON ROUGE, LA. — The No. 23 Razorback women’s tennis team ended the regular season in style on Saturday after a solid 5-2 victory over No. 71 LSU at W.T. “Dub” Robinson Stadium in Baton Rouge. With the SEC Tournament less than a week away, the Hogs are definitely riding some momentum as they finish the regular season with a 16-8 record and a 6-5 mark in the conference. They finish the conference season in second place in the SEC Western Division and will play the loser of the match between Auburn and Alabama in the first round of the conference tournament.
“This is a very hard place to win,” said head coach Michael Hegarty, “so, today, it took a very strong performance to be successful.”
The Razorbacks started the day in doubles with a more shuffled lineup than normal as the team of sophomore Kate Lukomskaya and freshman Kelsey Sundaram played in just their fourth match of the season at the No. 1 doubles spot. Unfortunately, they were matched up against the No. 89 team of Whitney Wolf and Keri Frankenberger and were dropped 8-4, giving LSU the first doubles win.
The Hogs were able to respond back at court two as the team of freshman Valentina Starkova and junior Anouk Tigu, who were playing together for the first time this season, defeated Kaitlin Burns and Hannah Robinson, 8-4, leaving the doubles point still up for grabs at court three.
Arkansas jumped right on the opportunity to win the important doubles point as freshman Claudine Paulson and sophomore Stephanie Roy took care of Nicole Kantor and Ebie Wilson, 8-4, giving Arkansas a 1-0 lead going into singles play.
Moving over to singles play, Starkova continued her solid freshman campaign as a Razorback as she got the first singles win of the day at court six over Robinson in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. However, the Tigers were able to answer back from their 2-0 deficit at the No. 2 spot, getting a win from Burns over Lukomskaya, 7-6, 6-0, and cut the lead to one.
It began to look like a back and forth battle after sophomore Emily Carbone scored the win at court three over Kantor in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2. Being up 3-1, the Hogs still had their hands full as LSU got their second singles win of the day, this time at the No. 4 spot as Frankenberger defeated Roy, 6-3, 6-3, and keeping the match alive for the Tigers.
With just two matches remaining, the Hogs were determined to not let this one slip away. Arkansas’ No. 1 player and No. 47 in the country, Anouk Tigu, made sure the match got put away at court one as she dispatched Wolf in a tough three set match, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, win number thirteen for her this spring. The team win was the Hogs second straight and pushed them over .500 in the conference for the first time this season.
In the one remaining match, Sundaram notched her eighteenth win of the spring over Wilson in what was also a tough three set match, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0.
“We’ve got some momentum heading into the postseason,” said Hegarty, “and we will try to run with it.”
The Razorbacks now set their sights on the SEC Tournament to be played in Athens, Ga. The opponent for the first round is still to be determined, as the bracket will be finalized after all matches are final on Sunday. The tournament’s first matches are set for Thursday, April 22 and will continue through Sunday, April 25. For complete coverage of the women’s tennis team throughout the SEC Tournament, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.Complete ResultsDoublesOrder of Finish: 1, 2, 3*No. 1 #89 Whitney Wolf/Keri Frankenberger (LSU) def. Kate Lukomskaya/Kelsey Sundaram (ARK) 8-4No. 2 Valentina Starkova/Anouk Tigu (ARK) def. Kaitlin Burns/Hannah Robinson (LSU) 8-4No. 3 Claudine Paulson/Stephanie Roy (ARK) def. Nicole Kantor/Ebie Wilson (LSU) 8-4Singles Order of Finish: 6, 2, 3, 4, 1*, 5No. 1 #43 Anouk Tigu (ARK) def. Whitney Wolf (LSU) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1No. 2 Kaitlin Burns (LSU) def. Kate Lukomskaya (ARK) 7-6, 6-0No. 3 Emily Carbone (ARK) def. Nicole Kantor (LSU) 6-4, 6-2No. 4 Keri Frankenberger (LSU) def. Stephanie Roy (ARK) 6-3, 6-3No. 5 Kelsey Sundaram (ARK) def. Ebie Wilson (LSU) 6-2, 3-6, 6-0No. 6 Valentina Starkova (ARK) def. Hannah Robinson (LSU) 6-2, 6-2