Tennis struggles to produce wins

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Story by Sarah Combs, Staff writer and Clara FirtosContributing writer

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Chalice Keith/The News Freshman Javier Villar from Madrid, Spain, waits to volley the ball back to his opponent.

The Murray State tennis teams competed at home for a double-loss for both teams.  The women ending 0-2 are on their first losing streak since 2013 and the men are continuing a losing streak that dates back to the 2015 spring season.

WOMEN

The Murray State women’s tennis team ended 0-2 this weekend against Western Kentucky and Southern Illinois University Carbondale at Kenlake 6-1 for both days.

This is the first time since 2013 that the No. 2 ranked team has had a three-streak loss. Senior Megan Blue from Ontario, Canada said the young team is transitioning and still trying to find their groove.

“We are a young team so it’s just trying to deal with the pressure of playing in the situations,” Blue said. “But everyone is working hard and we are optimistic about it.”

Blue was the only player to win her singles match for the weekend against SIU. Blue was down in the third set and a game away from a loss but was able to fight her way back and come out with a 7-5 victory. Freshman Amina Hadzic from Esbjerg, Denmark, said that watching Blue fight through her match showed her that it’s important to keep persevering.

“I’m hoping with me winning those tougher matches it will show them that they can rely on me,” Blue said.

The young team didn’t lay down after their losses but plan to embrace and follow the determined philosophy of the older players.

Head Coach Jorge Caetano said there were some positives that came from this weekend. The team was able to see the kind of competition in the OVC. Although the matches didn’t go as planned, the players didn’t let that get them down.

“They didn’t let their heads go down at any point during the matches,” Caetano said. “They were very focused, trying to keep up and trying to play hard.”

Blue says this loss will give their team incentive to work harder aiming for the rest of the season and plans to rally her teammates looking forward to their match against Lindsey Wilson  College this weekend.

The Racers plan to take on the court this coming week and improve in order to avoid another loss. The key to a good start is getting the doubles win. Having that win gives the team confidence when they enter the singles.

“We have to work harder on the doubles,” Hadzic said. “Because we get confident and we can go into singles with that one point.”

The Racers will play host at 11 a.m. Saturday against Lindsey Wilson this weekend at Kenlake.

MEN

Murray State Racers couldn’t come away with a victory against South Dakota State this Saturday at Kenlake.

Junior from Tell City, India, Anjan Kashyab says they’re trying not to let this match affect them. They are planning on playing hard for the next scheduled match.

“From here on out, we’re focusing in on our game,” Kashyab said.

The team’s goal is still to make it to the OVC Championship in defiance of the recent matches and to keep playing their best to show their support for Head Coach Mel Purcell after the recent loss of his father.

“It’s the best way to support him,” Kashyab said.

“We’re always giving 110 percent because of our coach,” said sophomore from Novi Sad, Serbia, Srdjan Trosic.

Both Trosic and Kashyab agree that the new players are showing dedication and the environment at practices are always fun and about bettering each other’s techniques.

“It’s always funny, good spirit, and a happy spirit,” Trosic said.

During the singles competition, sophomores No. 1 Will True  from Bowling Green, Kentucky and No. 2 Marcel Ueltzhoeffer from Oftersheim, Germany, both won their matches. True lost his first match but fought back and won the next two sets. Trosic ranked in No. 3 but fell at 6-3 and 6-4.

“Having a new team is like having a new set of weapons,” Kashyab said.

As for the doubles, Ueltzhoeffer along with his partner, freshman David Schrott from Mannheim, Germany, completed their match first defeating their opponents  6-2. Trosic and freshman from Madrid, Javier Villar finished second in their match, score 6-3. The point of the doubles came down to True and Kashyab. Yet, the pair fell at 7-5, giving South Dakota State University the win.

Men’s tennis is scheduled to play on Feb. 26 at Vanderbilt University. The team hasn’t won a match since Jan. 20 against Olivet Nazarene when they earned the 4-3 victory.