NASHVILLE – The Lipscomb women’s tennis team lost 5-2 to the North Florida Ospreys at Huston-Marsh-Griffith Tennis Center Sunday morning.
With the win, UNF continues a perfect all-time record against the Bisons.
Despite the loss, senior Kate Popova had a fine day at the office with a momentous singles win against ITA-ranked Kit Guliher.
Ranked as high as 32nd in the ITA singles ranking and as high as ninth in doubles in her career, Guliher was unable to keep up with Lipscomb’s number one.
“Kate’s been a great player,” Lipscomb head coach Jamie Aid said. “She’s played at the national level. So honestly, it was nice to see Kate today being in Kate’s element where she was stepping on the line, she wasn’t afraid to go to balls. It was nice to see Kate being out there and enjoying it and hitting it like she was today.”
The morning started with a difficult doubles stretch, though, with the Bisons consistently losing momentum in key moments across all three matches.
The top pairing, made up of Popova and Sasha Dobranos, going up against strong opposition, were held scoreless in a 6-0 loss. On court two, seniors Maddox Bandy and Eleanor Chapman lost 6-2 just moments after.
Senior Liza Diachenko and junior Anja Trbeznik fought back from an early 3-0 deficit to keep their game alive the longest at 5-2.
In singles, Lipscomb battled and kept things much more competitive. Popova found herself locked into the best match of the day, one that flip-flopped but saw the Ukrainian take a 6-4 win in set one.
Court two saw an early lead for Dobranos in the first that she would not relinquish, taking a 6-2 win into the second frame.
On court three, Trbeznik came up short in two sets, losing 6-1 and 6-0. Next to her was Diachenko, who also lost in straight sets (6-2, 6-2)
Courts five and six were close throughout, especially in the first set. Both Bandy and Chapman were down 4-3 and kept things alive at 6-5, but both ended up losing their first sets 7-5.
With the doubles point and singles losses on courts three and four, the Bisons needed a perfect finish to end the day with a win.
Meanwhile, the heavyweight battle between the ones went decidedly UNF’s way in set two, with Popova losing 6-0. That evened the score at one apiece with the deciding set on the way.
Next to Popova, her Ukrainian compatriot Dobranos earned the Bisons’ first point of the outing behind another strong set, winning 6-3 to claim a win in straight sets.
At court five, Bandy came agonizingly close once again, losing 6-4 and dropping the point. Soon after, Champan succumbed to her opponent 6-3 at court six.
It was a strong finish for the Bisons, though, as the day’s only three-set match went to Popova in the one slot. Popova picked up a 6-2 win despite dropping the first point, grabbing the final three points in a row to salvage a second point for Lipscomb.
“They fought really hard,” Aid said. “At the end of the day, that’s what we expect of the girls. I think Kate [Popova] did that today at one and Sasha [Dobranos] did that today at two. Our five and six did that today; it didn’t turn out the way that they wanted, but they went out there and got on the line.”
Kate Popova/Sasha Dobranos – 0-6 loss
Maddox Bandy/Eleanor Chapman – 2-6 loss
Liza Diachenko/Anja Trbeznik – 2-5, called off
Kate Popova, Lipscomb WIN – (6-4, 0-6, 6-2)
Sasha Dobranos, Lipscomb WIN – (6-2, 6-3)
Anja Trbeznik, Lipscomb LOSS – (1-6, 0-6)
Liza Diachenko, Lipscomb LOSS – (2-6, 2-6)
Maddox Bandy, Lipscomb LOSS – (5-7, 4-6)
Eleanor Chapman, Lipscomb LOSS – (5-7, 3-6)
Lipscomb falls to 6-11 on the season with a 2-4 ASUN record after third second straight loss. They hit the road again this weekend to face FGCU Friday in Fort Myers, Florida, followed by a Sunday outing at Kennesaw State in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Photo courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics