NEW YORK—Columbia battled and competed against one of the nation’s top teams but in the end, couldn’t overcome a a slow start and early deficit in dropping a 5-2 decision to Kentucky Saturday afternoon at Dick Savitt Tennis Center. The loss drops Columbia to 5-3 in dual matches, while Kentucky improves to 5-2 overall.
“We were still in it as a team all the way up until the last few minutes,” Columbia Head Coach Ilene Weintraub said. “We talked a lot about that as a group. Trailing 3-2 and with two remaining singles matches quite close, we were definitely in it until the last minute. I hope that we can take that away from this match and close a bit better in the future.”
Kentucky took a 1-0 lead by capturing the doubles point in quick fashion. The Wildcats’ duo of Justina Mikulskyte and Diana Tkachenko won a 6-0 decision over Columbia junior Andrea Kevakian and sophomore Ali Pollack, then Kentucky’s No. 28 ranked doubles duo of Emily Fanning and Mami Adachi bested Columbia junior Christie Wan and senior Adi Milstein 6-1.
Singles matches were a different story. The Lions started strong and jumped out to leads on five of the six courts. Kentucky’s Justina Mikulskyte made it 2-0 Wildcats with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Columbia’s Wan at No. 1 singles. With the loss, Wan’s streak of No. 1 singles victories ended at three. Mami Adachi gave Kentucky a 3-0 lead with a 6-2, 6-1 win over junior Sarah Hu at No. 3 singles.
Down 3-0, Columbia battled back into the match with two wins of its own. Milstein got Columbia on the scoreboard when she registered a convincing 6-0, 6-2 win over Brianna Tulloch at No. 6. Kevakian cut the deficit to 3-2 Kentucky with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Kentucky’s Lesedi Jacobs at No. 4 singles.
“It was nice to have both of our captains win today,” Weintraub said. “They definitely showed great leadership in taking care of their court. Both Adi and Andrea have worked really hard to reach their potential and I think they’re both playing their best tennis this year.”
Two matches remained and the Lions had opportunities in both. The Wildcats claimed both as Diana Tkachenko defeated Columbia’s Pollack 6-3, 6-3 to seal the win and Emily Fanning won a hard-fought 7-5, 6-4 decision over first-year Jennifer Kerr.
Previously ranked among the Oracale ITA nation’s top-25 teams, Kentucky entered the weekend among “Others Receiving Votes.”
Columbia hosts Maryland on Saturday, March 3.
KENTUCKY 5, COLUMBIA 2
Saturday, February 17, 2018, Dick Savitt Tennis Center, New York, N.Y.
No. 1: Justina Mikulskyte (UK) defeats Christie Wan (Columbia) 6-0, 6-1.
No. 2: Emily Fanning (UK) defeats Jennifer Kerr (Columbia) 7-5, 6-4.
No. 3: Mami Adachi (UK) defeats Sarah Hu (Columbia) 6-2, 6-1.
No. 4: Andrea Kevakian (Columbia) defeats Lesedi Jacobs (UK) 6-1, 6-4.
No. 5: Diana Tkachenko (UK) defeats Ali Pollack (Columbia) 6-3, 6-3.
No. 6: Adi Milstein (Columbia) defeats Brianna Tulloch (UK) 6-0, 6-2.
Final Score: Kentucky 5, Columbia 2; Time of Match: 1:55. Order of Finish: Doubles- 3, 1. Singles- 1, 3, 6, 4, 5, 2. Records: Columbia: 5-3; Kentucky 5-2. Attendance: 86.