Story by Sarah Combs, Assistant Sports Editor
The women’s tennis team clinched a sixth seed in the OVC and look for retribution against third seed Eastern Kentucky, which defeated them 0-7 in the regular season.
After cold weather conditions and having to play an inside match, the Racers say they are looking forward to facing Eastern in different conditions for the first match of the tournament. Murray State is 6-4 in the conference and Eastern holds an 8-2 record. The Racers have faced Eastern two years in a row in the finals.
Head Coach Jorge Caetano said he expects a tough match against their biggest rival.
“We always have a tough and competitive match against them,” Caetano said. “It’s not gonna be easy.”
The Racers are preparing for tournament play by splitting into small groups and focusing on individual mechanics. The focus this week is having good conditioning and being fresh for the first match, Caetano said. Being in physically good shape and mentally focused will be a big part of the weekend.
“OVC Tournament is all about attitude,” Caetano said. “Believing that you can beat the other team and being positive.”
Murray State has one four of its last five matches while Eastern comes off two loses.
The Racers go into the tourna ment after defeating Jacksonville State 6-1. The Racers earned the doubles point against the Gamecocks, giving them a 1-0 advantage into singles.
Erin Patton, senior from Memphis, Tennessee, and Haily Morgan, freshman from Anthem, Arizona, took the No. 1 doubles position and defeated their opponent 6-2. Megan Blue, senior from Mississauga, Ontario, and Amina Hadzic, sophomore from Esbjerg, Denmark, delivered a 6-2 victory at the No. 3 court that clinched the doubles point for the Racers.
Blue led the team at the No. 1 spot in singles, winning her third straight match 6-4 and 6-3. Hadzic followed suit as the No. 2 spot. Hadzic won her first set 7-6, lost momentum in the second 2-6 and pulled out the win in her final set 10-6. Morgan delivered her sixth straight match win at the No. 3 spot for the Racers. Morgan won her matches 6-4, 6-2. Patton also delivered a five-match win streak, winning her first set 6-4, falling in her second 6-2 but pulling together a 6-0 win in her third set.
“The whole match was very high intensity,” Patton said. “It was a big win for us.”
After losing to Eastern in the regular season, the Racers are ready to make a point with nothing to lose, Morgan said. “I expect everybody on our team to go out swinging,” Morgan said. “Not be afraid to play and hit the ball.”