February 21, 2012

Tennis Pushes Past Kentucky in 4-3 Thriller to Stay Undefeated

AKRON, OhioZara Harutyunyan claimed a three-set, last-match-on-court win at No. 1 singles to push Akron past Kentucky 4-3 on Tuesday afternoon at LaTuchie Tennis Center. The Zips improved to 11-0 versus dual-match competition this season.

Against Khristina Blajkevitch at No. 1, Harutyunyan took the first set 6-2, lost the second 6-3 and withstood a comeback bid from the UK sophomore in the third to win 6-4 and clinch the deciding point of the day. Harutyunyan led 5-0 in the final set, but Blajkevitch rallied to pull to within 5-4.

After giving up the doubles point for the first time in nine matches and falling behind 1-0 in the team score, Akron jumped ahead 2-1 thanks to a 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 6 singles by Angelika Jogasuria over Misha Testerman, and a 6-2, 6-1 decision at No. 2 in favor of Olga Shkundina over Jessica Stiles.

Kentucky (8-2) made the match score 2-all with a 6-2, 6-3 win at No. 5 by Cece Witten over Ksenia Berestetska, and then Akron went ahead 3-2 courtesy of a 7-5, 6-2 victory by Prang Pantusart, who was battling illness, at No. 4 versus Stephanie Fox.

The Wildcats again evened the tally at 3-all when Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff topped Angelina Jogasuria 6-4, 7-5 at No. 3. As play at that flight ended, Harutyunyan and Blajkevitch began what would be their thrilling third set.

In doubles, UK won in order 8-5 at No. 3, 8-4 at No. 2, and lost 8-6 at No. 1. UA's Harutyunyan and Pantusart won at No. 1 over Blajkevitch and Stiles, the 36th-ranked pair nationally.

Having completed a four-match homestand, Akron now hits the road until late March. The Zips travel to Dartmouth and Brown this Friday and Sunday, respectively.

Zips Notebook:
UA and UK faced off on the tennis court for the first time ... the Zips now have victories over teams from the SEC (Kentucky), Big East (Cincinnati, Louisville, West Virginia) and Big Ten (Michigan State) this season ... the squad's 11-0 start is the best since the program began the 2010 season 15-0 ... Akron improved to 7-0 at home this season.



Akron 4, Kentucky 3


Doubles
1. Zara Harutyunyan/Prang Pantusart (Akron) def. (36) Khristina Blajkevitch/Jessica Stiles (UK) 8-6
2. Caitlin McGraw/Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff (UK) def. Angelika Jogasuria/Angelina Jogasuria (Akron) 8-4
3. Cece Witten/Marni Venter (UK) def. Olga Shkundina/Natalia Kuvakina (Akron) 8-5

Singles
1. Zara Harutyunyan (Akron) def. Khristina Blajkevitch (UK) 6-2, 3-6, 6-4
2. Olga Shkundina (Akron) def. Jessica Stiles (UK) 6-2, 6-1
3. Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff (UK) def. Angelina Jogasuria (Akron) 6-4, 7-5
4. Prang Pantusart (Akron) def. Stephanie Fox (UK) 7-5, 6-2
5. Cece Witten (UK) def. Ksenia Berestetska (Akron) 6-2, 6-3
6. Angelika Jogasuria (Akron) def. Misha Testerman (UK) 6-1, 6-4

Order of finish:
Doubles – 3, 2, 1
Singles – 6, 2, 5, 4, 3, 1

Team records:
Akron – 11-0
Kentucky – 8-2