With the OVC tournament just three weeks away, the tennis team proved itself as a strong opponent when it defeated Southeast Missouri 7-0 Saturday.
The Racers (7-7, 4-1 OVC) hosted the meet at home and swept all six singles matches. The team also finished strong in doubles play with a final record 2-3, with victories in the first and third. The first match was played by doubles team senior Ashley Canty and sophomore Carolyn Huerth, who went on to finish with a final score of 8-4.
“All of our conference matches have turned out to be a good win,” said Head Coach Olga Elkin. “We started coming out really strong. We do our business and it’s working well.”
The freshmen solidified their competitive drive when duo Erin Patton and Suzaan Stolz dominated the court to add another 8-1 victory.
“It’s good to see how well the freshmen are doing because it gets difficult for them,” Elkin said. “They have to play collegiate teams so it’s really tough both physically and mentally.”
In the singles division, Canty returned to pick up another victory. Junior Carla Suga followed with her own win in flight two, along with freshman Megan Blue, who won flight three.
Blue’s performance added to her perfect streak of 5-0 in conference play. The three singles powerhouses have all combined to win three straight in a row for the Racers.
The team is now preparing to take on Belmont in Nashville, Tenn. The match will mark its first meet against the Bruins of the season. The Racers last faced Belmont in the 2010-11 season, finishing with a 4-3 victory.
“I don’t think it’s a setback that we haven’t play them in so long,” Elkin said. “We go into any match with little known about the other team, so we’re always going in fresh. ”
Both teams are evenly matched, with the same 7-7 regular season record, but the Bruins come weak in conference play, with a 3-3 record in comparison to Murray State’s 4-1.
Belmont comes in strong in doubles play. In its last meet against SIU Edwardsville, the Bruins took their first points when they finished 2-3 in doubles.
Strong duos like seniors Carolyn Caire and Natalia Nunes prove to be a formidable match up, both in experience and performance. The two went on to finish 8-3.
The roster features five seniors opposed to Murray State’s one, making the Bruins a team used to seasons of competition.
Junior Carla Suga said the team needs to work on doubles play to make sure they are ready for Belmont.
“You always need to practice,” she said. “But you also have to come with more energy. It’s not all about just playing well. You also have to make sure you bring a mental game to the matches.”
The Racers will travel to Nashville, Tenn., to take on Belmont Saturday at 10 a.m.
Story by Carly Besser, Assistant Sports Editor.