Women’s tennis prevails while men still struggle

The women’s tennis team sent two OVC rivals home with their first conference losses last weekend.

On Friday, the Racers won 5-2 over Eastern Kentucky. The Racers jumped ahead early by winning the doubles match point. During the singles portion, Verginie Tchakarova scored a quick win 6-0, 6-1 and teammate Nancy Karaky followed up with a 6-2, 6-1 win. Those wins put the Racers ahead 3-0.

Alena Vasileva won the fourth match of the day with a 7-6, 6-0 victory to clinch the Racers’ victory.

Saturday’s match against Morehead State was postponed from the original 11 a.m. start to 1 p.m. because of cool weather.

Once the match got underway, a crowd of nearly 30 people had gathered to cheer on the Racers as they won six of the seven matches against Morehead State.

“The crowd today was great,” said Head Coach Jorge Caetano. “They really helped us today, especially in Andrea’s match. The crowd kind of got into her opponent’s head and got Andrea pumped up.”

Senior Andrea Eskauriatza played on court No. 1, which is adjacent to the stands, so the fans cheered her on throughout her match.

Eskauriatza fell behind to Andrea LeBlanc in the first set 5-4 but rallied to win the set 7-5 with the support of the fans.

“It definitely helps the environment and how we have that support – it’s really helpful for us,” Eskauriatza said. “The crowd got in (LeBlanc’s) head but it didn’t bother me.”

Eskauriatza won the match 7-5, 6-2 to seal the victory for the Racers.

The crowd at the match was the largest Eskauriatza said she had seen at a home match for the Racers.

Next up for the Racers are Tennessee State on Friday and Belmont on Saturday.

MEN STILL WINLESS

For the men’s team, winning was elusive after being swept Friday and Saturday.

While most competitions begin with the doubles match, Friday’s competition against Eastern Kentucky (12-6, 5-1) started with the singles portion.

After the Colonels swept the Racers 6-0 in singles play, the teams didn’t bother with the doubles match.

On Saturday, the men’s team missed some opportunities against Morehead State (5-12, 3-3).

Freshman Will True took the first set from his opponent 6-2 but lost the next two 2-6, 1-6, and sophomore David Hess had four match points but couldn’t close out the match, losing in a tiebreaker 6-4, 5-7, 7-10.

The Racers (0-14, 0-5) next face Tennessee State Friday morning in Nashville, Tenn. Both teams are searching for their first win of the season.

The Racers have beaten Tennessee State nine years in a row. On Saturday morning, they will play Belmont (7-8, 2-3) in Nashville, Tenn.

Story by Blake Bernier, Staff writer