Story by Simon Elfrink
Murray State tennis will start its season by attending the Austin Peay Invitational in Clarksville, Tennessee.
With summer over, Head Coach Jorge Caetano is looking forward to the opportunity for his team to size up the opposition.
“There are four more OVC schools besides us, and Western Kentucky and Chattanooga as well,” Caetano said. “I’m really excited to see the good work they’ve put in this summer and now the beginning of fall.”
Caetano graduated a number of seniors last year in Amina Hadzic, Jeanne Masson and Hannah Rikard. Additionally, the Racers are two athletes short of the 10-woman roster they had this time last year. However, Caetano expressed no concern whatsoever.
He said the four seniors, Claire Chang, Anja Loncarevic, Sara Loncarevic and Sara Bjork, have stepped into the leadership roles very well.
Along with returning juniors Stasya Sharapova and Sara Bjork, the team will include incoming freshmen Natalie Slezkova, Samantha Muller and Marit Kreugal.
The three new Racers have come in and shown Caetano that they can contribute immediately.
“It looks like they’ve been here for longer than four weeks,” Caetano said. “I’m just very proud of them for the hard work, and just getting along with everyone and listening and working hard.”
Coach Caetano is gearing up for his 6th season as head coach, coming off a 12-9 record last season. The Racers had their season cut short by an upset courtesy of UT Martin in the first round of the OVC Tournament.
Like any coach, Caetano’s immediate goals are all about improving. Caetano realizes it’s early on and that the only way to truly test the hard work and progress they’ve been making is on the court.
“It’s really go out and play,” Caetano said. “That’s the key. It’s not about winning or losing now; it’s about competing to the best of our ability. Wins are going to come as part of it.”
Murray State will hit the road and start the season when they open the Austin Peay Invitational at 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 13, in Clarksville, Tennessee.