Mississippi State University's own women's tennis team took on the University of Kentucky at home on April 8. MSU, currently ranked 41st, hoped to get the upset against 23rd-ranked Kentucky, but lost 3-4.
Head coach Daryl Greenan spoke on the loss and the pride he has for his team.
"I am really proud of our effort today," Greenan said. "We played well enough and put ourselves in a winning position against a solid top-25 team. We were just a little unlucky not to come out with the upset. We were a couple points away from getting the doubles point, which in theory would have given us a 4-1 victory. I really think we are getting better each week."
Despite the large ranking gap, the match was very close. Kentucky won the first doubles match 6-1 against senior Magda Adaloglou and junior Tamara Racine. The other two both went into tiebreakers, but Kentucky pulled ahead against Emma Antonaki and sophomore Marta Falceto to win the doubles point. MSU went into singles losing 0-1.
Starting the singles matches with confidence, the Bulldogs fought hard in every match, making for a close game in every facet of the action.
Emma Antonaki, a junior management major, spoke on the determination she held throughout her match.
"I was a little stressed in the beginning (of my singles match). That was obvious in the first set. I lost the first set 6-0 in 20 minutes. I thought to myself, 'I cannot let my teammates down. You have to fight for it.' I went back to the court and started the second set. The set was really close, but after I broke her serve, I eventually finished my set 6-3. In the third set, I was focused the whole time. I was really proud of myself. It was a really tough match and she was a really good opponent," Antonaki said.
After losing the first set, Antonaki won the following two and scored MSU a point.
MSU earned another point from sophomore psychology major Alexandra Mikhailuk's 7-5, 6-2 victory. She attributed her win to encouragement from the team and the energy that support allows her to bring to the court day in and day out.
"It was a tough loss today for the Bulldogs but I'm very proud of them," Mikhailuk said. "It's been a long time coming, for me personally as well. I've been struggling with a lot of tough matches recently in the SEC and the team helped me get that win today. In training, I always feel the support from my teammates. Today I looked over and felt the energy of my teammates. That's what really helped me close out that win today. I'm very proud of my Bulldogs for the energy and the heart they displayed today."
The Kentucky Wildcats made up two points against freshman Chloé Cirotte and senior Lilian Poling in hard-fought matches.
Adaloglou finished her match in two sets and a tie breaker, 7-6, 7-5. This match tied the score at three. The final match, to break this tie, lasted 3 1/2 hours between Kentucky Wildcat Morante and Bulldog Marta Falceto. This three-set match eventually ended 5-7,6-4,6-7 after a tiebreaker. This ended the match in favor of Kentucky, to the disappointment of MSU.
MSU players fought hard all the way through to the end of the day, and Magda Adaloglou was proud of this.
"Today was a tough loss but a very good battle for our team," Adaloglou said. "I'm very proud of how we fought. Everyone fought hard and left their hearts out there. It hurts, but we will keep looking forward."
The team also fell to Vanderbilt University on Saturday to close out their regular season. They will take the court next in the SEC Women's Tennis Championship which will be held April 19-23 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.