Story by Blake Sandlin, Contributing writer
The Murray State women’s tennis team opened up their season last weekend, traveling to Austin Peay State to play in their Fall Invitational.
The University of Central Arkansas, Austin Peay, Lewis University, UT Martin and the Racers were all in attendance at the invitational.
Amina Hadzic, sophomore from Esbjerg, Denmark, opened the tournament in singles Friday with a loss, falling to Asel Jumamukhambetova of UT Martin in 3 sets, winning 6-7, then losing 6-0, and 10-7.
Claire Chang, freshman from Kaohsiung, Taiwan, won in 2 sets against Andrea Plantada Cortesx of UT Martin, winning 7-6, 6-1. Chang then lost her next match against Claudia Yanes Garcia of Austin Peay, losing in two sets 6-0, 6-0.
Alina Schibol, senior from Hamburg, Germany, lost in two sets to Nora Mindiyarova from Lewis University, falling 6-2, 6-3.
Jeanne Masson, sophomore from Dinard, France, lost in two sets to Jemima Potter of UT Martin, 6-1,6-2.
Sara Bjork, freshman from Malmo, Sweden, lost to OlhaBurak of UT Martin in 3 sets, 4-6, 6-2, and 10-8. Bjork then won her consolation match 6-4 and 6-1 to advance to the consolation final.
In doubles, Hadzic and Masson faced off against Garcia and Covington of Austin Peay, losing 6-1.
Chang and Schibol teamed up in doubles facing Jerrima Potter and Jumamukhambetova of UT Martin, losing 7-6.
Despite what seemed to be a tough weekend for the Racers, Head Coach Jorge Caetano said he was pleased with his team’s performance, as well as the support they showed one another.
“The way we were supporting each other was very good,” Caetano said. “They were being loud, and they were being very supportive of one another. That’s a really big thing.”
Caetano said he believes the more his team plays, the better they will become.
“With our returners, they struggled a little bit with some of the matches, I think they were a bit rusty,” Caetano said. “The more we play, they will get better.”
Despite the play of the Racers’ returning players, Caetano said he was very impressed with the play of his new freshmen, Chang and Bjork, who played their first match for Murray State this weekend.
“The newcomers going out there and getting their first wins as Racers was very good,” Caetano said. “They were calm and they didn’t feel any pressure, so I’m very happy with that.”
Caetano said that getting to go up against OVC competition like UT Martin and Austin Peay was good for the girls so that they can see what they will be up against once team play begins in the spring.
The Racers will face even more competition this weekend as they travel to the University of Central Arkansas for another invitational tournament.
Caetano said he is looking forward for his team to play so they get into a rythm even if they are playing teams who they may not see normally.
“They have around 8 teams coming, some in our conference,” Caetano said. “Most of them are not in our conference so it’s good to play different teams and different people. It’s going to be good experience for our team. I think the level of competition will be better and they will be on the same level, so I think we are going to compete even better this weekend.”