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Kenyon edges out Big Red in top-30 showdown

Ashley Hammons  |  Photo by Curt Ashcraft
Ashley Hammons | Photo by Curt Ashcraft

GAMBIER, Ohio - No. 28 Denison women's tennis fell just short on Tuesday evening as they suffered a 5-4 loss to No. 22 Kenyon College at the Jasper Tennis Center in Gambier, Ohio.

In a rematch of last year's NCAC title game, the Big Red opened doubles play with an early victory in No. 2 play when the second-flight pairing of Alex Cash and Hannah Cianciola defeated Daria Beshentseva and Ilana Blackwood, 8-2. Despite Denison's 1-0 advantage, the Ladies secured the next two doubles matches to enter singles play with a 2-1 lead.

On the singles courts, Kenyon extended their lead to 3-1 when Erika Oku defeated DU's Lauren Hawley in the top flight 6-3, 6-0.

Trailing 4-1 following Hannah Cianciola's No. 4 loss to Daria Beshentseva 6-0, 6-4, the Big Red won the next two matches in No. 2 and No. 3 play. Senior Emma Alsup found success on the No. 2 court in a 6-1, 7-6 defeat of Ilana Blackwood, while Cash cut DU's deficit to 4-3 following a third-flight victory over Maggie Sweeney, 6-0, 6-4.

Denison then tied the match at 4-4 when Ashley Hammons retired Annie Reiner following the second set of No. 6 singles, 6-7, 6-1.

It all came down to No. 5 singles between Denison's Megan Hickey and Kenyon's Kayla Pukys. In the opening set, Hickey jumped out to an early lead with a 6-4 victory in the first set. But in the final two sets, Pukys edged out Hickey 7-6, 7-5 to secure to match and send the Big Red to 7-5 on the season. Kenyon improved to 7-2 with the victory.

Denison will return to their home court on Saturday, March 30 when they host the 10th ranked Tartans of Carnegie Mellon University.