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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

‘I couldn’t think of a better way to do it’: Tennis seniors deliver first conference win

Garima Thapa
Graduate student Marcelo Sepulveda returns a shot on April 1 against Tulsa. Sepulveda lost to end the match 4-0 in favor of Tulsa.

Two hours after being recognized on men’s tennis’ senior day, graduate students Misha Kvantaliani and Marcelo Sepulveda were involved in the last two singles matches for Wichita State with the team game on the line.

On Friday afternoon, both players delivered in their final matches in the Sheldon Coleman Tennis Complex, leading the Shockers to victory, 4-3, over the University of South Florida (USF).

The win marked Wichita State’s first victory against an American Athletic Conference foe this season, closing out the regular season 5-17 overall and 1-6 against AAC competition. USF’s record dropped to 9-14 this season.

All three doubles courts were closely fought, but Wichita State’s seniors pulled through in both of their courts. Kvantaliani and sophomore Richey King finished first, squeaking out a 6-4 win.

Sophomores Alejandro Jacome and Luke Bracks lost by the same scoreline, which left the doubles result to Sepulveda and freshman Vanja Hodzic on court two. The pair won, 7-5, giving the Shockers the first point of the matchup.

In singles, the lower three courts ended in two sets. Hodzic won on court four, while Bracks and King lost on courts five and six, respectively. Jacome’s match on court two was the next to end, falling in set three to give USF a 3-2 lead. It was up to the two graduate students to finish their games.

Kvantaliani closed out a hard-fought affair on the first court in two sets, 7-6 and 7-5. He said the wins in singles and doubles were two of his most impressive throughout his collegiate career.

“It just feels amazing and I couldn’t think of a better way to do it, us two seniors finishing it at the end,” Kvantaliani said.

All eyes turned to court three, where Sepulveda was beginning his decisive third set with the match and team game on the line.

After a tight start, Sepulveda pulled away with a 6-2 win to close out a Shocker victory. As the final point ended, Sepulveda dropped his racket and was swarmed by his Wichita State teammates, jumping up and down and yelling in celebration.

Sepulveda said it “doesn’t get any better” than being able to celebrate in his last home match with his team.

“I thought I was going to win the whole last game,” Sepulveda said. “My teammates were there for me the whole time, so that was a good factor.”

Wichita State head coach Darragh Glavin said the team “believed a little bit more” in themselves compared with previous losses.

“It really should give us a lot of momentum going into the conference,” Glavin said. “Just to know we can beat anyone with the team that we have.”

Wichita State finished last in the AAC’s regular standings and will turn its attention to the American Athletic Conference Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The tournament is scheduled to begin on April 18.

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About the Contributors
Jacob Unruh
Jacob Unruh, Assistant Sports Editor
Jacob Unruh is the assistant sports editor for The Sunflower. He is a junior at Wichita State, majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. This is Unruh's first year on staff. He goes by he/him pronouns.
Garima Thapa
Garima Thapa, Photographer
Garima Thapa is a second-year photographer for The Sunflower.

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