The University of Kentucky women’s tennis season came to an end late on Tuesday, falling in the 2019 NCAA Women’s Division I Singles and Doubles Championships in Orlando, Florida. Meanwhile, senior Justina Mikulskyte culminated her decorated career at UK after achieving her best dual season in four years.
Following a 45-minute interruption in the afternoon schedule, Mikulskyte atlas took court No. 3 at 5:45 p.m. ET to contend in the NCAA Singles Second Round. The Lithuania native, who reached the NCAA Singles Championships for the first time in her career, got off to a strong start in her singles match. Mikulskyte commanded the first set, recording a 6-4 mark over North Carolina’s Sarah Daavettila. However, the 90-degree temperature took a toll on the lone senior.
Her momentum waivered as the match progressed, allowing Daavettila to earn the second set on a 6-4 mark. Mikulskyte battled for the third set, but an underhand serve on Daavettila’s match point stunned the Wildcat. Mikulskyte ended her singles career at UK on a 6-4, 4-6, 4-6 decision.
Mikulskyte became the first UK women’s tennis player to reach the NCAA Singles Second Round since 2006. She boasts a 15-7 record in singles this season, having defeated eight ranked competitors. The senior reached as high as No. 15 in the ITA/Oracle National Singles Ranking this season, the best collegiate ranking in her singles career.
Just one hour later, Mikulskyte took the court again this time joining redshirt Akvilė Paražinskaitė in the NCAA Doubles First Round. The 9 p.m. first serve was the latest the duo has seen all season, but it didn’t keep them from surging in the opening set. The UK doubles team, ranked No. 16 in the nation, rallied a first-set win over Sophia Whittle and Graciela Rosas of Gonzaga, 6-4. The Gonzaga duo answered in the second set, recording a 6-4 decision and forcing a tiebreak. In the end, Mikulskyte and Paražinskaitė couldn’t stand up to the 15th-best duo in the nation, losing on a 6-4, 4-6 [10-12] mark.
The UK doubles team has shined all season, boasting a 13-8 record, 8-2 in the Southeastern Conference, and reporting an 8-2 mark against ranked foes. Together, Mikulskyte and Paražinskaitė have reached as high as No. 13 in the ITA/Oracle National Doubles Rankings, having knocked off the then-No. 1 and then-No. 3 duos in the nation.
Throughout the season, both upperclassmen helped UK to a 19-9 (.679) record, its best since putting together a 19-8 (.704) mark in 2007. Helping the team reach the NCAA Second Round, they also became the first Wildcats since 2017 to earn posts in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships.
Hosted by the University of Central Florida and the Greater Orlando Sports Commission on the grounds of the USTA National Campus, the championship will come to a conclusion on Saturday, May 25 with the singles and doubles championship matches.
– GO CATS –
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