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Women’s tennis still No. 1

Racers take on OVC Tournament in Nashville Saturday and Sunday

Kory Savage/The News POSITIVE ENDING: (Above, left) Junior Megan Blue from Mississauga, Ontario hits the ball during doubles play on Saturday April 11. Sophomore Verginie Tchakarova from Sofia, Bulgaria plays her last regular season game before her and twin, Eleonore transferring in the Fall.

POSITIVE ENDING: Junior Megan Blue from Mississauga, Ontario hits the ball during doubles play on Saturday April 11.

For the second year in a row the Murray State women’s tennis team won the OVC regular season championship. This year they are co-champions with Eastern Kentucky.

On April 11 the Racers (15-3, 9-1) faced Jacksonville State (9-14, 5-5) in the final match of the regular season. With the title on the line, the Racers played at the top of their game and won 7-0.

Before the match, senior Andrea Eskauriatza was honored by Head Coach Jorge Caetano as she prepared to play in her final match at the Bennie Purcell Tennis Courts.

“She did exactly what we expected her to do all year and that was win,” Caetano said. “She is always exciting to watch with the way she plays, sliding around and getting to the ball.”

The Racers jumped on their opponents early and scored the doubles point behind a strong effort from a new team of Nancy Karaky and Verginie Tchakarova who won 8-0. Verginie typically pairs with her twin sister Eleonore Tchakarova, but an injury kept Elenore from competing over the weekend. … Continue Reading

Soccer season starts

April 17, 2015 Athletics, Soccer

The soccer team wrapped up its undefeated spring season with a 2-1 victory over the University of Kentucky April 9 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky advanced to the round of 16 in last season’s NCAA women’s soccer tourney.

The Racers started the off season with a 2-1 victory over Vanderbilt Feb. 25 in Nashville, Tenn., and added a 2-0 shutout against Southern Indiana University March 24 at home. A fourth game scheduled against the University of Evansville April 3 on Cutchin Field was canceled due to inclement weather.

The Racers lost eight seniors after the 2014 season, and while Head Coach Jeremy Groves signed nine players for 2015, the spring season showcased only returning players.

Groves also announced the fall schedule as the spring season came to a close. The Racers will play eight home games and 11 away. … Continue Reading

Softball takes second place

April 17, 2015 Athletics, Softball
Jenny Rohl/The News The Racer softball team cheers on their teammates with their hats turned inside out, backward or upside down in superstition while a player bats.

Jenny Rohl/The News
The Racer softball team cheers on their teammates with their hats turned inside out, backward or upside down in superstition while a player bats.

Murray State softball jumped up to second place in the OVC after beating Southeast Missouri State with three walk-off hits this weekend.

The scores were 4-3 in game one, 6-5 in game two, and 2-1 in game three.

Fans and coaches all around were on edge watching this weekend’s series. All three games came down to the wire and then at the last second the Racers pulled the win in the seventh inning with walk-off hits.

Head Coach Kara Amundson said she thought the team did not play its best softball this weekend but they found a way to get the wins.

Amundson said it took a little longer than she would have preferred, but at this time of the year, she said three wins are three wins.

“All the games were tight ball games that came down to the wire,” said infielder Alexa Becker. “But we were able to come out on top.”

Becker had two walk-offs against SEMO that contributed to the sweep: a walk-off single in game two on Saturday and the other on Sunday. … Continue Reading

Track and field continue records

April 17, 2015 Athletics, Track and Field
Nicole Ely/The News Women’s track and field prepare to accept their awards at their home meet April, 4.

Nicole Ely/The News
Women’s track and field prepare to accept their awards at their home meet April, 4.

The Racers came off a two-day, two-meet weekend at Western Kentucky and the University of Tennessee with a strong overall team performance and a personal win for one Racer.

Senior Brittany Bohn won the 3000-meter steeplechase at WKU Saturday, crushing her previous personal record in the event.

“I started out strong, went for my PR and demolished it,” Bohn said.

Bohn set a personal record in the previous meet with a time of 11 minutes 20.93 seconds and finished this meet with a time of 11 minutes 3.25 seconds.

This is Bohn’s seventh time running the event since her sophomore year and she now has the second-best time in the event at Murray State.

Saturday was the first time the Racers experienced a meet in fair weather. The past two meets were in rainy, windy conditions.

Head Coach Jenny Severns and Bohn said that rainy weather usually doesn’t have a big effect on the race, but when wind is added it makes it a little tougher because the race takes a lot of your energy. … Continue Reading

Men place eighth in Big Blue

April 17, 2015 Athletics, Golf
Photo Courtesy of Dave Winder Sophomore Matthew Zakutney, from Paducah, Ky., sends the ball into hole nine.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Winder
Sophomore Matthew Zakutney, from Paducah, Ky., sends the ball into hole nine.

The Racers placed eighth of 13 in Tennessee State’s Big Blue Intercollegiate April 13-14 at the Hermitage Golf Club Presidents Reserve in Old Hickory, Tenn.

Junior Brock Simmons carded the best finish in his collegiate career with a 13th place finish in the field of 75 competitors.

Scoring a two-under-par 214, Simmons led the Racers’ other participants: senior Jordan Smith in 27th, juniors Preston French, Jared Gosser, Duncan McCormick and Matthew Zakutney in 34th, 38th,43rd and 53rd respectively, and sophomore Myles Morrissey in 58th. … Continue Reading

Women’s golf finishes fourth

April 17, 2015 Athletics, Golf
Photo Courtesy of Dave Winder Junior Abbi Stamper, from Frankfort, Ky. drives a ball across the green.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Winder
Junior Abbi Stamper, from Frankfort, Ky. drives a ball across the green.

The women’s golf team finished fourth in a field of 11 at their home tournament, the Murray State Invitational, April 10-11 at Frances E. Miller Memorial Golf Course in Murray.

Sophomore Minta Yin and freshman Moa Folke, last week’s OVC Co-Golfer of the Week, led the Racers with two top-10 finishes in fifth and ninth, respectively.

The University of Cincinnati, Morehead State and Xavier carded lower scores than the Racers, but Murray State scored 13 strokes lower than their next closest conference competitor Belmont. Headed into the OVC Tournament Monday through Wednesday in Huntsville, Ala., the Racers have prepared by facing non-conference opponents all season. … Continue Reading

Baseball piles losses during OVC bye week

April 17, 2015 Athletics, Baseball
Jenny Rohl/The News The Racers embrace their teammates after winning on April 10.

Jenny Rohl/The News
The Racers embrace their teammates after winning on April 10.

Losses piled up for the Racers during their OVC bye week as the offense and pitching both hit a slump.

A three-game series against Samford (17-17) kicked off a set of nine straight road games for the Racers (14-24, 9-6) as they were outscored 41-11 over the three games.

In the first game on Friday, Samford players hit six homeruns en route to a 17-2 win. Centerfielder Pokey Harris drove in the Racers only two runs with a double in the seventh inning.

During the second game, the Racers took an early lead 3-1 after three and a half innings but committed three errors on the game. Each error eventually resulted in runs for Samford who won 10-3. … Continue Reading

Davies gives sports seal of approval

April 10, 2015 Athletics
Jenny Rohl/The News President Bob Davies takes a selfie with a member of the Racer Pep Band at Tequila Cowboy before the men’s basketball OVC Championship.

Jenny Rohl/The News
President Bob Davies takes a selfie with a member of the Racer Pep Band at Tequila Cowboy before the men’s basketball OVC Championship.

Self-described as a college sports enthusiast, President Bob Davies has continued his promise of supporting, promoting and being involved in all aspects of Murray State athletics.

“When our teams play other schools, that becomes their Super Bowl,” Davies said. “The students and faculty are so talented and to just be part of that and see their Super Bowl it is a big deal and if that paves a way for other students then that’s great.”

Davies has made connecting with students a priority. He walks through campus daily and said he makes it a point to interact with students, coaches, athletes and fans no matter if they win or lose.

“Prior to coming to Murray State, Davies built a reputation for being fully engaged with students and he’s not disappointed,” said Athletic Director Allen Ward. “I know our student athletes work extremely hard representing the University and they’ve commented how many times they appreciate Davies’ visibility and support.”

Davies said he tries to attend at least one sporting event, theatric event, music concert or University event involving students each week. Athletes are an important part of student life, he said, and quoted a previous University president saying sports are the front porch to the school.

“Athletics at an American university are interesting and drive a lot of our brand and how individuals perceive a university,” Davies said. “Wrong right or indifferent. I’m not debating the role of athletics but I’m saying what it is out there in the market place. It’s like my daughter says ‘it is what it is’.”

Davies said one of the best parts about Murray State athletes is that when they win, they win with respect and when they lose, they lose with respect. Speaking on the men’s basketball team’s loss at Old Dominion during the National Invitation Tournament on March 25.

“Here’s a little known fact- every time a basketball team plays: half the teams win and half the teams lose,” Davies said.

Though Davies said he has seen many basketball games and other sports, he said he will remember that loss for a long time.

“As I look at the programs as a whole and evaluate them the first criteria I have is what are the students doing academically,” Davies said. “The second is how is the citizenship and integrity of the program, and third is how are (you) on the court, field, track or whatever it is.”

Student athletes such as Robert Broadstreet, freshman rifle shooter from Ozark, Mo., said it feels good to see the University president come to the range, as Davies did during the MSU Tri Match No. 2.

“It was cool to show our president what we can do,” said Ivan Roe, freshman rifle shooter from Manhattan, Mont. “We got off the line and he greeted us telling us we did well. You don’t get that every day and it meant a lot to us.”

With Davies’ attention to athletics is recognized by more than just students. Ward said because of the role he (Davies) plays in marketing for the University, Davies has high expectations for intercollegiate athletics and the students involved in it.

“You’re going to have bumps and bruises,” Davies said. “As long as we don’t have a plethora of them we’re OK. But I’ve talked to the coaches  and they understand that we need to have exemplary students in and out of the classroom.”

Ward said because of the constant changes going on within Division I sports, it is important to have an involved president. He said Murray State has a winning tradition and it’s a winning tradition without the student-athlete controversy he sees with other schools. Davies said it is what sets Murray State apart.

“We’re fortunate to have that at Murray State with Davies,” Ward said. “He’s been outstanding to work with.”

Davies said he enjoys his interactions with the students and it isn’t just for publicity. To him, taking selfies with students and tweeting with them gives him a sense of involvement in their lives.

“First (athletics) is an amazing asset,” Davies said.  “We have bumps and bruises as we go along. We go along with 400 student athletes and by large they are student athletes. Take any swatch of 400 students and they are an amazing representatives of the school.”

Story by Kelsey Randolph, Assistant Sports Editor

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