Racers open spring season with wins against IUPUI, Bradley

Freshman Samantha Muller watches the ball after she returns it. (Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics)

Simon Elfrink

Staff Writer

selfrink@murraystate.edu

The Spring Tennis season officially began for Murray State on Saturday, Jan. 25, when the Racers took back-to-back victories in Peoria, Illinois. 

The Racers went up first against the hosting Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis and swept the Jaguars 7-0. The first doubles victory went to freshman Samantha Muller and junior Stasya Sharapova, winning 6-2. Seniors Anja Loncarevic and Sara Loncarevic were up next, winning 6-0. Freshman Marit Kreugel and junior Sara Bjork made up the last duo team, mirroring the first duo’s score and taking the win 6-2. 

The singles matches against IUPUI yielded almost identical results. Claire Chang and Sara Loncarevic both won their singles matches, both scoring 6-2 and 6-1, respectively. Stasya Sharapova also beat her opponent in two sets 7-5 and 6-2. Anja Loncarevic experienced a more hard-earned victory, falling her first set to IUPUI’s Christina Stankovic. The pair went three sets, in which Loncarevic lost the first set 3-6, but then came back to go 6-1 and 10-5.

Kreugel went two sets in her single going 6-2 and 6-0, while Muller went 6-1 in back-to-back sets. 

Murray State’s second match, against Bradley University, yielded similar results in the form of a 5-2 victory.

The Racers took two of the three doubles matches, led off by Bjork and Kreugel, who won the first doubles match 6-2. While Anja and Sara Loncarevic were unable to pull off their respective doubles matchup, Muller and Sharapova salvaged a 7-5 win. 

Anja and Sara Loncarevic bounced back in their respective singles matches, the former winning in straight sets 6-2 and 6-3, while the latter took a three-set victory. Sharapova, Kreugel and Bjork all took singles victories in straight sets. 

Head Coach Jorge Caetano was thrilled with his team’s opening day showing. 

“I couldn’t be happier with our start,” Caetano said. “The girls played very solid from top to bottom, and showed a lot of maturity and confidence in the crucial moments of the matches.”

While Caetano admitted his team did not perform as well as he knows they can, the greatest takeaway was the fact they were able to pull out a pair of wins regardless. 

Caetano also found potential in Anja Loncarevic’s individual performance.

“Anja was very good for us, having a very tough first match, but finding a way to win,” Caetano said. “Then she dominated her opponent in the second match. It was great to see the way she competed today.”

Caetano was impressed with Marit Kreugel as well. 

“Marit also played a very good first match,” Caetano said. “But [she] had a bad start in the second. I’m very proud of the way she handled things when she was down to turn things around and get another win.”

The Racers anticipate their next matchup on Thursday, Jan. 30, where they will face Middle Tennessee University and Cumberland University at the Kenlake Tennis Center in Benton, Kentucky.