Women’s tennis in OVC Tournament with win on Friday
Story by Sarah Combs, Staff writer
After the Murray State women’s tennis team swept Tennessee State 7-0 Tuesday, the players put themselves in position to lock down a spot in the OVC Tournament if they beat Jacksonville State on Friday.
The Racers relied on their two seniors – Erin Patton from Memphis, Tennessee and Megan Blue from Mississauga, Ontario – to complete Tuesday’s sweep and will be leaning on the pair’s postseason experience to help steady the team as it aims for its third straight OVC Title. “That’s the main thing that these seniors do – they have the winning mentality,” Head Coach Jorge Caetano said. “They want to work hard and make sure we get the job done. They always keep believing.”
The Racers need to beat Jacksonville State on Friday to make the tournament and try to win their third straight title. Both teams are 4-4 in the conference. The tournament will include only the top six teams in the conference. Murray State is ranked sixth, Jacksonville State is ranked seventh and Austin Peay State ranked fifth and are all tied for the two final spots into the tournament.
“It’s gonna be a war this weekend,” Caetano said. “I just want the girls to be ready to play.”
The sunny conditions offered an ideal backdrop for Senior Day on Bernie Purcell Tennis Courts. The Racers won the doubles match early and dominated singles.
The seniors give the younger team a confidence in themselves, said Caetano. The conference has a lot of young players, Caetano said which gives the Racers an advantage.
The singles match of the day came from Court 4, where Patton, delivered a nail biter. Patton fought her way through a tie breaker and pulled out a tough win for her last match on her home court as a senior. Patton played a good first set, winning 6-2, but lost a couple points in the second 3-6. The match was a battle, but she sealed the third set 7-6.
“It was a tough match,” Patton said. “That third set really made the difference and being able to focus in to get the win.”
Patton said the final match on her home court was bittersweet. She hopes the team remembers the two championships that the team has won since her freshman year and can build on that.
“It will never be something that I just put down,” Patton said.
Blue played the first position for the Racers. Blue held the lead throughout the match, delivering 6-2, 6-2 for the singles win.
After playing for four years, working her way from the three position to the one and winning two rings, Blue said she is looking forward to winning a third ring.
Blue said she’s sad to be playing her last match on her favorite courts. She said the competition and team atmosphere is what she lived for during her four years on the team. Blue said the match against Southern Illinois University Carbondale was her best performance of the year. Blue delivered a 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 to win her singles match against the Salukis.
Blue said she hopes future teams look back on the 2016 Racers and remember them for the extra effort that paid off.
“It all comes from hard work,” Blue said. “I’m hoping that’s what we are remembered by, how much we wanted it and how much we worked for it and at the end of the day, we did it.”
A third senior was honored Tuesday, Suzaan Stoltz from Brisbane, Austrailia. She played three years finishing 23-21 in single matches and 22-10 in doubles matches.
Men’s tennis sends Kashyab off on high note in final home match
Story by Clara Firtos, Contributing writer
Men’s tennis was defeated by Belmont 5-2 Friday, but the Racers beat Tennessee State 4-3 Tuesday at home, bringing its record to 3-20.
Despite losing on Friday, the Racers held a ceremony for junior Anjan Kashyab from Tell City, Indiana, on Senior Day Tuesday because he will graduate a year early.
Kashyab said team trips and being coached by Head Coach Mel Purcell are a couple of his favorite memories from being on the team.
“He is what made my experience of playing for Murray State enjoyable and unique,” Kashyab said. “I’ve learned a lot of things from him during my time here and not many players can say their coach was ranked as high as 21 in the world.”
Kashyab also said Purcell gave him well-thought advice, important tips, good laughs and always made sure he was having fun.
“I hope to stop by and see everyone once in a while after leaving,” Kashyab said, “We had a lot of great and funny memories together.”
Kashyab formed good friendships with his teammates.
“We learned a lot about each other’s countries and cultures,” Kashyab said. “I can now say I have friends all around the world.”
Marcel Ueltzhoeffer, sophomore from Oftersheim, Germany, played in at No. 1 for the singles matches. Ueltzhoeffer battled and won against his opponent 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. No. 5 David Hess, junior from Louisville, Kentucky, also defeated his opponent 6-0, 6-1. Javier Villar, freshman from Madrid, won the match as well 6-0, 6-1. In at No. 2 was sophomore Will True from Bowling Green, Kentucky. True was defeated by his opponent 6-4, 4-6, 7-6. No. 3 player Srdjan Trosic, sophomore from Novi Sad, Serbia, lost his match 4-6, 4-6 and 4-6.
The doubles competition started off strong with No. 1 Ueltzhoeffer and partner David Schrott, sophomore from Mannheim, Germany winning their match 7-6. Ueltzhoeffer and Schrott won the deciding game in the match 7-3. In at No. 3 were Villar and partner Srdjan Trosic, who won their match 6-4. The No. 2 duo True and Hess lost their match 4-6.
During the singles competition, Ueltzhoeffer was in No. 1 spot. Ueltzhoeffer lost his first set 1-6, but came back in the next two sets winning 6-3, 6-1. True played in the No. 2 spot for the Racers. True’s opponent, senior Robin Demasse from St. Jean de Braye, France, was yelling inappropriate language in French during their match. Due to this, True won his match by default. In at No. 3 was Schrott. Schrott lost his match 6-0, 6-3.
No. 4 player Trosic was defeated by his opponent 6-3, 6-2. No. 5 Hess lost a close first set 7-6, before falling 6-0 in the second set. Villar played in the last spot for Murray State. Villar lost his match, giving the Bruins the victory in the singles portion of the match.
In the doubles competition Ueltzhoeffer and Schrott won their first set 4-1, but the second set went unfinished against Belmont. True and Hess played in the No. 2 spot. The team lost 6-1, giving the win over to their opponents. No. 3 partners Trosic and Villar lost their match 6-2.
Men’s tennis is scheduled to play Jacksonville State on Friday.