It took 16 matches this season for the men’s tennis team to earn a win and remove the zero from its record. This happened with a 4-2 win against Tennessee State Friday.
“It always feels good to get your first win of the season and I’m proud of the guys,” said Head Coach Mel Purcell They never stopped fighting all season long.”
This year the Racers (1-15, 1-6) have played with only six eligible players on the roster but faced a team Friday that had five.
“We started the match ahead 1-0 because they only have five guys so we already had a win at the sixth spot by default,” Purcell said.
Because the Tigers (0-12, 0-8) had only five players on the roster, they were forced to forfeit a match, so the Racers won a point before taking the court. Freshman Will True, senior Max McLean and sophomore David Hess won their individual matches and scored a point each for the Racers.
“David battled in his match, he had a chance to put it away in the second set but he let the guy back into the match,” Purcell said. “But he fought through and won it in the tie breaker. All the guys were over there cheering him on.”
Purcell remains undefeated against the Tigers in his career as head coach.
The next day the Racers dropped the contest against the Belmont Bruins (9-9, 4-4) without winning a match.
“We went into the match prepared and confident and they jumped on us pretty quick,” Purcell said. “And that’s the way it goes sometimes but it was a pretty good weekend for us.”
The women’s tennis team continued to roll through opponents over the weekend with a 4-0 win over Tennessee State (0-9, 0-8) on Friday followed by a 7-0 win against Belmont (4-13, 1-6) on Saturday.
Winning has been the norm for the women’s tennis team (14-3, 8-1) behind strong performances from last week’s Pepsi Athlete of the Week and No. 1 in rotation, senior Andrea Eskauriatza.
“This is my second year as the number one,” Eskauriatza said. “It’s always tough, you always know that every school, at least their No.1 is always good. So it’s about being prepared to have a tough match every single time.”
After the two wins the women Tennis are now 8-1 in the OVC with just one match remaining before the conference championships in Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday.
The Racers will finish regular season play at 10 a.m. Saturday on Bennie Purcell Tennis Courts against Jacksonville State (6-12, 3-5).
The men’s team will play Tennessee Tech (8-12, 6-1) Friday at Bennie Purcell Tennis Courts.
Then they’ll go on to play Jacksonville State (8-11, 4-3) following the women’s match on Saturday.
Story by Blake Bernier, Staff writer