Berkeley, Calif. — Kansas University’s women’s tennis season ended with a 4-3 loss to UC Santa Barbara on Friday in the opening round of the NCAA Championships at Hellman Tennis Center.
The match was tied 3-all as KU senior Maria Jose Cardona battled UCSB’s Amanda Atanasson. Cardona saved nine match points in the second set to force a third, but ultimately fell 7-6 (5), 6-7 (0), 7-6 (8) in a three-hour match.
“Today was a tough day,” Kansas coach Todd Chapman said. “In these types of matches you never tend to feel good at the end. Maria fought off 10 match points, nine in the second set to get to a third. The fight she showed there is what this team is about, it’s what this program is about. We never give up. We are never going to give in on ourselves or our teammates.
“Obviously it is tough to lose because she fought off 10 match points and had four match points herself. The whole team fought hard. The effort we gave was something to be proud of.”
Playing down a player due to illness for much of the last month of the season, Kansas faced the Gauchos with just five players.
A loss at No. 2 doubles and forfeit at No. 3 cost KU the doubles point, and the Jayhawks forfeited at No. 6 singles to put themselves in a 2-0 hole.
Anastasiya Rychagova (No. 1), Janet Koch (No. 3) and Nina Khmelnitckaia (No. 4) posted singles victories for Kansas.
Friday’s match marked Kansas return to the NCAA Championship after a 17-year absence. The Jayhawks concluded their 2016 season with a 17-8 record.