PROVO, Utah — Junior Ela Kaluder’s three set win over Anastasia Surkova sparked an upset for the 53rd-ranked University of Arkansas over No. 28 Brigham Young, 5-2, in the season opener for the Lady Razorbacks.
After dropping the doubles point to Brigham Young, the Lady’Backs were looking for a spark in singles to regain the lead. Kaluder dropped the first set, 5-7, to Surkova and was one point away from dropping the game in the second set. However, she fought back claiming the set, 7-5, then capturing the win with a, 6-4, third set win. The victory put the Lady’Backs ahead, 3-2, at the time.
“Ela’s comeback was a huge plus for us today, and really sparked our team to help clinch this match,” said Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty.
Junior Nanar Airapetian toppled Elle Carney, 7-6 (5), 6-4, capturing the fourth point for Arkansas, thus clinching the match.
In doubles action, No. 12 Kaluder and Aurelija Miseviciute were defeated, 8-4, at the hands of Surkova and Jennifer Miccoli. Arkansas’ No. 44 ranked duo of Maryori Franco and Airapetian also dropped their match, 8-2, against Dolly Chang and Kristina Doerr. Senior Audrey Bordeleau and freshman Anouk Tigu were the lone Lady’Backs to win in doubles toppling Elizaveta Ezhova and Chie Hayasaka, 8-3, putting BYU ahead 1-0 heading into singles action.
Number one ranked Aurelija Miseviciute got things back even with a superb, 6-2, 6-0, straight sets win over Doerr.
Freshman Anouk Tigu locked down her first ever victory as a Lady’Back after a, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, comeback victory over Hayasaka.
“Coming in as a freshman in January is hard to do,” Hegarty said. “A freshman winning their first match in comeback fashion is one of the toughest things, and Anouk showed heart and high potential with her win.”
BYU squared the match up when Ezhova defeated Lady’Back Maryori Franco, 2-6, 6-4, 6-0.
Kaluder’s heroics subsequently took place with Airapetian clinching quickly after.
With the match in the bag, Audrey Bordeleau continued excellent play by Arkansas as she shot down Chang, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5.
Although the Lady’Backs were able to pull off the upset by three points, Hegarty did not feel like it was a walk in the park.
“This was a very typical season opener against a high quality opponent such as BYU.” Coming into Provo and winning a match at altitude was a real gut check for our girls in their first match, and I felt (Arkansas) really showed signs of how good our team is.”
The Lady’Backs will play their second match in as many days tomorrow in Salt Laky City against the Utah Utes at 10:00 a.m.