Kosminskaya & Koulbitskaya Eliminated from NCAA Tournament

TULSA - Penn's 36th-ranked doubles team of Ekaterina Kosminskaya and Julia Koulbitskaya entered Thursday's first round of the 2008 NCAA Women's Tennis Doubles Championships hoping to replicate last season's success with a first round win. Arkansas' Ela Kaluder and Aurelija Misevicute had other ideas though and ended Penn's season with a 6-4, 6-2 victory at the University of Tulsa on Thursday.

After dropping the first set, Penn took a 1-0 lead in the second set before the two teams traded points until they were tied 2-2. With the Quakers serving, Kaluder and Miseviciute battled back to break serve and take a 3-2 lead that they never relinquished.

“That was a tough moment in the match,” senior tri-captain Koulbitskaya said. “We had held to that point and really lost momentum after that.”

The Razorback pair won the next two points to serve for match point. They held a 40-15 lead with two match points in their pocket, but the Quakers rallied back to deuce. It was not to be, however, for Kosminskaya and Koulbitskaya as the next two points went Arkansas’ way as did the match.

“Today was a tough match for us,” Kosminskaya said. “We found ourselves in some tough situations and couldn’t battle out of them. We had an inconsistent day and did not play like we did all year.”

The loss finished off a season that saw the duo earn second-team All-Ivy status with a 22-4 record overall and 4-1 in the Ivy League. In the fall, they teamed up for two tournament wins – the William & Mary Invitational and the Cissie Leary Invitational at Penn.

“This is disappointing,” Koulbitskaya said after the match. “We had a great match against them earlier this season where we beat them, but couldn’t come through today.”

Koulbitskaya, whose Penn career is complete after today’s match, was able to look back on her time on the courts for the Quakers with fondness.

“We had a good season this year,” she said. “Overall, we won some titles and played in some competitive matches at a very high level. While I am sad it has come to an end, it was quite an experience.”

While Koulbitskaya’s career is over, Kosminskaya is hoping to build off the early portion of her career that has seen two bids to the NCAA Doubles Championships as well as Ivy League Player and Rookie of the Year honors.

“Of course I hope to be back here the next two seasons,” the sophomore said. “It is tough to predict what will happen, but I am confident in our team.”

Full results of today’s action in Tulsa can be found here.