Castellano, Bago Highlight Day One of OU Invite

NORMAN, Okla. – K-State women’s tennis completed its first day at the OU Invite, with solid performances by Iva Bago and Sara Castellano leading the way for the Wildcats.

Castellano competed in the Boomer Draw, defeating Maria Kononova of North Texas in three sets (3-6, 6-1, 6-2) to move on to the quarterfinals. Bago beat Martha Matoula from Tulsa, 6-4, 7-6, to advance to the quarterfinals of the Stoops Draw.

“I think we did a good job today,” said K-State women’s tennis head coach Danielle Steinberg. “It was the first time we played a full match and it was nice getting over that first-match hump and nerves. Compared to where we were last year at this point, we saw a massive improvement, which can only give us more motivation to keep working harder and harder. Sara (Castellano) and Iva (Bago) both did a great job getting over a few hurdles in their singles, and I am hoping these are matches they can really learn from moving forward.”

K-State, as a team, went 4-4 in singles matches and 2-6 in doubles play.

Others to win singles were Millie Stretton and Maria Panaite in the Switzer Round Robin Draw. Stretton won her match, 6-4, 6-2, over Wichita State’s Summer Schlotterback. Panaite would follow suit with a two-set win by defeating Oklahoma’s Brooke Winthrow, 6-3, 6-4.

Doubles winners included partners Carolina Costamagna and Bago along with Panaite and Riley Nizzi. Bago and Costamagna, playing doubles together for the first time, competed in the Crimson Doubles Draw and started the day with a loss to Caroline Wegner and Seda Arantekin from TCU. They would fight back during their second match of the day, defeating Marcelina Cichon and Mahitha Dadieddy of Tulsa, 6-4.

Representing K-State in the Red Doubles Draw were Nizzi and Panaite, playing their 11th and 12th matches together. The duo went 1-1, defeating Whitley Quan and Amber Zimmerman from Wichita State in the first round before dropping the match against Alexis Pereira and Mia King of TCU.

Others to compete in singles were Costamagna, Nizzi, Ana Garcia Navas and Livia Cirnu. Costamagna and Gracia Navas competed in the Sooner Draw, with Costamagna losing to Anastasiya Shestakova from North Texas, 6-3, 6-0, while Garcia Navas was defeated by Abby Stevens of Wichita State, 6-2, 6-3. Cirnu lost to Mahitha Dadireddy of Tulsa in the Stoops Draw, 2-6, 1-6. Nizzi, meanwhile, fell to Ann Pepper of OU, 6-0, 6-2 in the Switzer Round Robin Draw.

Additional doubles competitors for K-State were partners Castellano and Stretton along with Cirnu and Garcia Navas. Castellano and Stretton, being paired together for the first time, lost both of their matches, 6-4 to Macie Elliot and Mary Wright from SMU and 7-6 to Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze of North Texas.

Cirnu and Garcia Navas, after starting with a bye in the first round, lost to Alexis Thoma and Kamilla Galieva of North Texas, 6-1, in the quarterfinals of the Crimson Draw. They then played an extra match against Pereira and King of TCU, falling 6-4.

Following day one, Steinberg is looking forward to the improvement of the players.

“The best thing about these fall tournaments is that we can get out there tomorrow and work on the things we need to work on from today,” said Steinberg. “We have two tough singles matches tomorrow, which will give us a great opportunity to improve.”

The Wildcats will continue play Saturday in Norman. Castellano and Bago will compete in singles quarterfinal matches while round robin play will resume in the morning. Castellano faces off against Simran Sethi of Oklahoma, and Bago takes on Katelyn Jackson of Texas Tech.