NORFOLK, Va. – Second-seeded Rice brought seventh-seeded WKU’s season to a halt on
Friday morning, defeating the Lady Toppers 5-0 in the quarterfinals of the 2018
C-USA Women’s Tennis Championship. The Owls were the third ranked opponent the Lady
Toppers faced this season. WKU finishes its season with a record of 9-8 and the
second-best conference tournament finish in program history.
Play began at 9 a.m. CT as WKU took to the court in their typical pairs and
placements for doubles action. Seniors Elpida Malamou and Violetta Shatalova were
the first to finish, falling to a pair of Owls 6-2. Sophomore duo Natalia De Ugarte
and Cindy Oest were defeated by Rice in a close 7-5 match, leaving the Owls to score
the doubles point.
Freshman Moka Ito and sophomore Monica Malinen held their own against the No. 44
doubles pair in the country with both tandems at five all when Rice won the doubles
In singles action, De Ugarte and Malamou each fell to Rice representatives 6-2, 6-2
on courts five and three, respectively. Malinen finished next followed by Shatalova
shortly after, each defeated by Owls in two sets.
Ito was up in the second set in her court one matchup and Oest was playing in the
third set when Rice won the match.
Belarus-native Shatalova played her highest level of tennis yet on The Hill,
frequenting the No. 3 spot most often for the Lady Toppers and playing as high as
No. 2, including during the conference tournament.
Hailing from Greece, Malamou leaves The Hill as the winningest Lady Topper Tennis
player in school history. The graduate senior finishes her WKU career with a singles
mark of 44-20, better than the second most singles wins in a career by 12 matches.
She also holds a 27 career doubles wins, more than any other Lady Topper in program
Newcomer Ito made her mark in the record books in both singles and doubles. She tied
for the sixth-most singles wins in a season with a record of 12-1. The freshman will
also be able to extend her winning streak into next season as it currently stands at
eight matches. She finished with 10 doubles wins, good for the eighth-most doubles
wins in a season.
Moka Ito (WKU) vs. Lindsey Hodge (Rice) 3-6, 5-3 DNF
Wendy Zhang (Rice) def. Violetta Shatalova (WKU) 7-5, 6-2
Michaela Haet (Rice) def. Elpida Malamou (WKU) 6-2, 6-2
Fernanda Astete (Rice) def. Monica Malinen (WKU) 6-1, 6-2
Anna Bowtell (Rice) def. Natalia De Ugarte (WKU) 6-2, 6-2
Cindy Oest (WKU) vs. Savannah Durkin (Rice) 3-6, 6-4, 0-2 DNF
Ito/Malinen (WKU) vs. #44 Zhang/Hodge (Rice) 5-5 DNF
Niezgoda/Astete (Rice) def. De Ugarte/Oest (WKU) 7-5
Haet/Durkin (Rice) def. Shatalova/Malamou (WKU) 6-2