The spring semester is just beginning, but the Jayhawk tennis team got back to work early as it captured three flight victories this weekend at the Clemson Winter Indoor Classic hosted by the University of Clemson.
For Kansas, this weekend shined a light on some of the team's strong points. Even though the team didn't win a doubles flight in this non-ITA sanctioned event, it beat a ranked LSU team in two of three doubles matches. It was also a bit of a bright spot for singles play, as the team bagged singles flights five, six and eight.
This tournament was the first action the Jayhawks have seen since the San Diego State Fall Classic in November, and it showed, as Kansas was 5-8 in singles play and 3-7 in doubles play, winning three of the possible 12 flights. The seeding for the five-team field was done by a hidden dual format, meaning the results would not count toward team records, but would count for the individuals.
The level of competition in the field had the potential to make any team look rusty, as three of the five teams came into the tournament in the ITA team ranking top 60: No. 22 Clemson, No. 45 LSU and No. 55 Tulane. Charleston Southern and Kansas were unranked when play started.
Two players in the field were ranked in the ITA top 125 in singles play, but the most important player for Kansas last weekend was junior Dylan Windom. Windom won her first match against Caroline Magnusson of Tulane. Then she coupled with freshman Maria Jose Cardona to defeat Kaitlin Burns and Keri Frankenberger of LSU in a terribly close match, 8-6. Windom and Cardona then exhausted Magnusson and Caroline Thornton of Tulane, 8-7 and 7-5.
While Windom was clutch this weekend, Cardona has been steadily improving in doubles play throughout the season. In November, she won in doubles with senior Monica Pezzotti. Although she didn't win any of her singles matches last weekend, she did win two in doubles play with Windom, proving her ability to play well no matter the partner.
The Jayhawks will look to build off last weekend's strong start as dual-play starts inside the Jayhawk Tennis Center against Denver University on Feb. 1 at 3 p.m.