About the only thing the Kansas University tennis squad had going for it in a 5-2 loss Wednesday to Kansas State at First Serve Tennis Center was the performance of Kunigunda Dorn.
After losing her first set in the No. 3 singles match, Dorn came back to beat KSU's Tamar Kvaratshelia, 1-6, 6-1, 6-2.
"Kuni came out and really played hard all through the match," KU coach Amy Hall-Holt said. "She was a little slow and not moving quite as well in the first set, but in the second and third set she just came out and she just played hard and prevailed."
Prior to her singles victory, Dorn partnered with Lauren Hommell in the No. 2 doubles spot for just the second time this spring. The tandem was able to defeat Kansas State's Olga Klimova and Katerina Kudlackova, 8-6 - just the latter pair's second doubles loss in seven Big 12 Conference matches this year.
"We're getting better and we've been playing in practice well and getting to know each other's games a little," Hommell said. "So it's progressively getting better. I'm feeling more comfortable with her in matches, so it shows since we won."
Dorn and Hommell debuted together against Missouri on April 7 and came up just short in an 8-6 loss.
The win by Dorn and Hommell was the first by a KU doubles team other than the No. 1 team of Elizaveta Avdeeva and Edina Horvath since Dorn and Stephanie Smith won the No. 3 doubles against Nebraska on March 10.
Unfortunately, Avdeeva and Horvath weren't able to pick up the win in No. 1 doubles against K-State, which would have secured the point for doubles play and given the Jayhawks a 1-0 lead heading into singles.
"I thought as soon as we won, the No. 1 would be a lock, so I thought we were going to win that doubles point that we badly, badly, badly need to win the match," Hommell said. "But it was kind of a surprise. I just assumed that they would win because this wasn't as strong a doubles team as them and I thought that they'd come away with it."
The loss was also the second loss for Avdeeva and Horvath in Big 12 play, bringing their conference record to 6-2 and their overall record this spring to 13-5.
"Edina and Liza just didn't show up today and they'll be the first to admit it," Hall-Holt said. "They couldn't get anything together, and it's sad on that part because we had a great chance of winning the doubles point today. They've been playing well all semester and it just finally came back to hit them. ... They both, at the same time, weren't on today and it happens - too bad it has to happen right now, so late in the season."
Avdeeva and Horvath carried their struggles into singles play as Avdeeva lost the No. 1 match, 6-4, 6-3, and Horvath fell to KSU's No. 2 singles player, 6-2, 7-6 (6).
Yuliana Svistun earned the Jayhawks' only other point with a win at No. 5 singles. Svistun was awarded the victory after K-State's Klimova had to bow out due to injury - with Svistun leading the first set, 3-0, at that time.
Kansas (4-13 overall, 2-6 Big 12 Conference) will attempt to bring a halt to its current five match losing streak - the last four in conference - with just three remaining conference matches before the Big 12 Conference Tennis Championships. The Jayhawks will be back on the courts Sunday morning to play host to a Colorado squad that is currently ranked No. 30 in the nation.
"We've got to figure out what we can do to get out of the slump," Hall-Holt said. "Talking with the girls today, they're tired of it and they're ready to finish out the season strong."