Blue Raiders Not Enough, Lose to No. 20 Northwestern

Ettore Zito, senior at MTSU, at the match against Jackson State on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015. Zito is an exchange student from Siracusa, Sicily. (MTSU Sidelines/Grant Massey)

EVANSTON, Ill. – Middle Tennessee (6-4) battled Friday, but they were overpowered by No. 20 Northwestern, losing the match 6-1.

Doubles play was dominated by the Wildcats (8-5). They earned the doubles point in quick fashion over the Blue Raiders.

The duo of Yannick Born and Gian Issa were turned back 8-1 by NU’s Sam Shropshire and Alex Pasareanu at No. 2 doubles. At No. 3 double, MTSU’s Robin Riethmueller and Miguel Negre suffered the same outcome in their match, dropping it 8-1 to Alp Horoz and Mihir Kumar. These two victories gave the Wildcats the doubles point, and the 1-0 lead heading into singles play.

The Blue Raiders had their hands full in singles play, as they faced a couple of nationally ranked netters.

At No. 1 singles, Blue Raider Ben Davis faced off with No. 93 nationally ranked Shropshire. Shropshire held a 5-3 advantage in the first set when Davis retired from the match, giving the point to Northwestern.

An MTSU netter battled with another nationally ranked opponent at No. 2 singles. Ettore Zito went up against No. 116 nationally ranked Strong Kirchheimer. Zito was not enough for Kirchheimer, falling 4-6, 4-6 in the match.

Victor Hoang suffered the same outcome as his teammates at No. 3 singles. Hoang was defeated 6-3, 6-1 by the Wildcats’ Logan Staggs.

The Blue Raiders’ Dima Zyhmantovich showed a lot of fight in his match at No. 4 singles. He dropped the first set 3-6 against NU’s Kumar. Zyhmantovich returned the favor though in the second set, winning 6-3, and forcing a third set. He came up short, however, in the tiebreaker, falling 0-1 (8-10), giving the Wildcats the point.

At No. 5 singles, Issa was turned back by Fedor Baev 3-6, 4-6. Riethmueller came through at No. 6 singles, providing MTSU with their only point of the day. It was a hard-fought battle, but Riethmueller prevailed, picking up the 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) victory.

The point helped the Blue Raiders avoid the sweep. Northwestern earned the victory though, 6-1.

Middle Tennessee will return him to face Lipscomb on Wednesday. The match is set to being at 2 p.m. CST.

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To contact sports editor Connor Grott, email or follow him on Twitter at @Connor_Grott.

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