Men’s tennis ends season with loss

Men’s tennis closed out the 2013 season with a 2-5 home loss April 14 to Tennessee Tech and finished overall with a 2-18 record.

Murray State lost each of the three doubles matches and was not able to make up for it in singles points.

Adam Taylor and Ryan Kennedy lost 8-5 in the No. 1 slot. Brother duo Nicholas and Aleks Mitric dropped 8-3 at the number two slot.

At number three, Murray’s Tyler Jeffers and Stefan Musa completed Tennessee Tech’s doubles sweep with an 8-2 loss.

The only singles victories for the Racers came at No. 2 and 3. Jeffers won his singles matchup 7-5 and 7-6 and Kennedy won by default.

Murray State battled through OVC opponents and several tough nonconference teams, like the University of Kentucky, to complete the season with lackluster results.

The Racers kicked off the season January 18 with a 0-7 loss and dropped the next 16 matches in a lengthy losing streak. Murray State didn’t win its first match until April 7 against Tennessee State, 6-1.

Head Coach Mel Purcell said he was not happy with the way the season panned out.

“It was very disappointing,” he said. “I schedule tough to prepare them. Our win and loss record is never that high, but we should do better in the OVC.”

The Racers played several big conference schools. The players saw teams like Memphis, University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and University of Tennessee, all of which resulted in losses like the Racers’ defeat of 0-6 April 3 against UK in Lexington, Ky.

Coach Purcell said it was a tough season, but if there was a positive match, it was beating Western Kentucky. He said that particular was a big deal for the team.

“The highlight was beating Western (WKU),” Purcell said. “We have a big rivalry with players who grew up around here.”

The Racers’ final record against teams within the OVC is less than stellar, with Murray State finishing with a 1-8 record.

The team’s lone OVC win came April 7 against Tennessee State with a score of 6-1 to cap off the season’s first of two victories.

“It’s tough. We went through a tough season,” Purcell said. “We had a lot of close losses on the road like Eastern Illinois.”

Some close losses included matches March 23 and 24 against SIU Edwardsville, Eastern Illinois and a loss April 6 to Belmont.

“The balls just rolled the wrong way. We didn’t get any breaks,” Purcell said. “But we have to make our own breaks. We never really got it done. As coach, I take full responsibility for it.”

Purcell said lack of effort wasn’t the cause for the team’s overall record and performance.

“The guys try hard and play hard,” he said. “I’m proud of the guys. We just didn’t play very good doubles.”

However, Purcell said he remains optimistic about Murray State’s chances for next season.

“I’m losing three guys,” Purcell said. “They’re graduating. “I have to go out and get good players for next year.”

Story by Kelly Farrell, Staff writer.