WKU Tennis drops first two games of season to Samford and Kentucky


Allie Hendricks

WKU freshman Rachel Hermanova prepares to volley the tennis ball back during the tennis match against Lipscomb University at the Michael O. Buchanon tennis facility on Jan. 30, 2022. The Hilltoppers won 4-3, starting off their season off with 2 wins and 0 losses.

Piper McCoun, Sports Reporter

In a busy weekend for WKU Tennis, the Lady Toppers played three games in three days, going 1-2 with its only win coming on Friday against Northern Kentucky. 

Northern Kentucky

WKU began the weekend beating Northern Kentucky 5-2 on Friday to advance its record to 5-0, which marks the best start in program Division 1 history. 

“It was a great team win,” WKU head coach Greg Davis said in a press release. “That is one of those teams that has beaten us three times in a row, and I thought this was our best doubles performance of the year. We came out in doubles and we were up 4-0 on three courts. I think that made a big difference. We were very decisive in our doubles play.”

The Lady Toppers won the doubles point for the fifth time in a row. Redshirt senior Laura Bernardos and sophomore Samantha Martinez were the first to finish on Court 2, winning 6-0. 

Redshirt junior Cora-Lynn von Dungern and redshirt sophomore Paola Cortez followed with a 6-1 victory on Court 1. Freshmen Sofia Blanco and Mariana Zegada lost their 5-3 lead during their match and did not finish. 

The Lady Toppers extended their lead in singles. Bernardos won her match 6-0, 6-2, which freshman Rachel Hermanova followed with a 6-0, 6-3 win on Court 5. Redshirt sophomore Alexis Cramer won the deciding match with a score of 6-2, 6-4. 

The rest of the singles matches followed, and NKU scored their first point in a three-set match. Cortez responded with a 7-5, 5-7 and 10-7 win. 

“Very happy to have the record, to be the first team since WKU [moved up to] Division 1 in the early 80s to start 5-0,“ Davis said. “Samford is going to be very difficult. They are a really good team. They will be the toughest team we’ve faced all year, so we have a big challenge ahead of us tomorrow.”


WKU fell to Samford 4-3 on Saturday for its first loss of the 2022 season, which brought their record to 5-1. 

The Lady Toppers lost their first doubles point of the season against the Bulldogs, dropping two of three matches. After losing the first doubles match, WKU’s von Dungern and Cortez responded with a 7-6 (4) win. The final match in doubles ended in a tiebreaker with Samford claiming the final set with a score of 7-6 (3) to clinch the doubles point. 

Bernardos improved her singles record to 4-0 on the season with a 6-4, 6-4 win at the No. 2 spot. Samford responded with wins at the No. 3, No. 1 and No. 6 slots, taking a 4-1 and securing the victory. 

The final two matches were played out with both ending in super tiebreakers. Hermanova improved to 6-0 on the season, winning her match 6-4, 3-6, (10-8). 

Taylor Shaw prevailed in the last match of the competition, winning 4-6, 7-6 (5), (10-8) securing her second singles match victory of the season. 

“They are a great team,” Davis said. “We had not been in a 4-3 match all season. Today we were. I give Samford credit. They had to make the plays to win it. It was a very difficult match. There was not going to be one easy match on the court, in doubles or singles today. Tomorrow, we play Kentucky. They are always in the top 25, top 30 in the country. It will be a challenge, but we are looking forward to it. We are excited to make that trip and have a chance to play one of the best teams in the country.”


WKU lost 4-2 to Kentucky for its second consecutive loss of the 2022 season, making its record 5-2. 

The Lady Toppers lost two of three matches during doubles play, 6-1 and 6-2, marking the second time they’ve lost the doubles point this season. The last doubles match went unfinished. Following that, WKU dropped three singles matches in a row, handing Kentucky the 4-0 victory, leaving the rest of the singles matches unfinished. 

“Kentucky showed why they are a top-25 team,” Davis said. “Very deep, very consistent. I thought we competed well against one of the top teams in the country.”

The Hilltoppers will host the Ball State Cardinals on Saturday and the North Alabama Lions on Sunday. The Cardinals have a 3-1 record while the Lions are 0-8 on the season thus far. 

Sports Reporter Piper McCoun can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @piper_mccoun.