ANSAS CITY, Mo. - Despite an early 1-0 lead following a thrilling end to doubles play, the University of Kansas was eliminated by Oklahoma, 4-3, in the first round of the Big 12 Championships on Thursday.
KU, which entered the tournament as the No. 11 seed, ends its season with a record of 4-17, while the sixth-seeded Sooners (9-12) advance to face the No.3 seed Texas A&M in Friday's quarterfinals.
The Jayhawks seized early momentum after winning two of the three doubles matches to take the quick 1-0 lead. After the Sooners claimed the No. 3 contest, Kansas' No. 2 tandem of junior Lauren Hommell and Kunigunda Dorn was the first to record a victory for the Jayhawks as they defeated OU's duo of Monica Purice and Christi Baxley, 8-6. Hommell and Dorn's win was their third straight and fourth in their final five outings.
Meanwhile, the No. 1 match between KU's junior Elizaveta Avdeeva and sophomore Edina Horvath and Oklahoma's Gabby Baker and Irina Lykina had moved into a tiebreaker to decide the point. OU appeared to be on its way to victory as Baker and Lykina took an early 4-0 lead in the tiebreak. However, Avdeeva and Horvath, who finished with the Big 12's second best record in the top doubles position at 7-4, stormed back, winning four straight points and eventually coming out on top in the tiebreaker, 7-5.
Oklahoma opened singles play with a win in the No. 4 match, but Kansas immediately built its lead to 2-1 when freshman Yuliana Svistun dominated OU's Chelsea Orr in the No. 5 singles match, 6-1, 6-0. Svistun ends her stellar spring with a final mark of 15-6, including an 8-2 conference record which was the league's second best in the No. 5 slot.
However, Oklahoma, as it did in its 4-3 win over KU earlier this season, stormed back in doubles play, winning the next two contests to be completed to take the 3-2 lead. The Jayhawks answered back, though, as junior Stephanie Smith knotted the dual at three with her three-set victory in the No. 6 match, leaving only the No. 1 contest between Avdeeva and OU's Baker to decide the outcome.
With Baker already up a set and with a 5-4 lead in the second, Avdeeva rallied, eventually sending the matchup into a tiebreaker. Baker, though, was too much, as she sent her team into the quarterfinals with a 7-3 win in the tiebreaker.
Despite the disappointing end to the 2006-07 campaign, the future appears bright for the Jayhawks, as they did not have a senior on this year's roster.