Men seek first win at Belmont Saturday

Junior Adam Taylor readies himself to hit the ball to his opponent at a recent home match. The team is now 0-14 on the season after losing to Austin Peay Tuesday and UK Wednesday. || Photo courtesy of Sports Information

Junior Adam Taylor readies himself to hit the ball to his opponent at a recent home match. The team is now 0-14 on the season after losing to Austin Peay Tuesday and UK Wednesday. || Photo courtesy of Sports Information

Men’s tennis is coming off their April 3 matches against University of Kentucky to face Belmont University tomorrow.

The team starts play against Belmont at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the Wildwood Club in Nashville, Tenn.

The Racers are searching for some momentum to lead them into the final stretch of the season. There are five matches left before the OVC tournament in Paducah, Ky. Murray State is currently suffering a losing streak with a record of 0-14.

“I think we’ll be competitive,” Head Coach Mel Purcell said. “We’ll have to see what happens.”

Coach Purcell said the match against Belmont is important in regards to the rest of the Racers’ season. The team needs to string a few wins together in their upcoming matches for a much better chance at participating and qualifying for the OVC tournament. Murray State lost to Austin Peay 0-7 April 2, before playing UK to extend the losing streak.

“It was a pretty tough match,” junior Adam Taylor said. “I didn’t take the opportunities I had.”

“Our backs are against the wall. If we can a get a couple of wins,” Coach Purcell said. “We’re just looking at one match at a time.”

Taylor agrees with Coach Purcell’s outlook about Murray State’s prospects about the remainder of the season.

“It’ll be a tough one. We didn’t start off as well as we’d liked,” Taylor said. “There’s always a chance right?”

“We’ll probably have to win the next four matches to have a chance to compete in tournament play,” Coach Purcell said.

Coach Purcell expressed what he wanted to see from his players heading into Murray State’s competition against the non-conference team UK.

He acknowledged the strength of the team and that he hoped that they prepared the Racers for their conference matchups against teams like Belmont and later Tennessee State.

“We’re going to play singles first,” Coach Purcell said. “I just want our guys to play hard.”

Coach Purcell said doubles are the weakness of the team and that they have struggled since the season started Jan. 18 against the University of Louisville. Coach Purcell said the second and third teams have not found much luck, either.

“We haven’t been strong. Singles start first,” Coach Purcell said. “Our No. 1 has been pretty good.”

Murray State dropped their 15th engagement in a row with the team’s 0-6 loss April 4 to eighth-ranked UK in Lexington, Ky.

Taylor dropped at No. 1 in his singles’ matches against 24th-ranked UK player Tom Jomby in two sets of 6-4. Tyler Jeffers lost at No. 2 6-2 and 7-5.

Ryan Kennedy lost at No. 3 in two sets of 6-2 and Mac McLean lost at four 6-0 and 6-2.

Nicholas Mitric lost at No. 5 in two sets of 6-0 and Aleks Mitric lost at No. 6 8-0. After Kentucky swept the singles against the Racers, doubles were not played.

Murray State seeks their first win against Belmont tomorrow at 1 p.m.

Story by Kelly Farrell, Contributing writer.