HOUSTON – Middle Tennessee’s women’s tennis team closed out the year on a sour note after posting its best regular season record since 2001.
The Blue Raiders finished with a regular season record of 18-4 and won their first round matchup of the C-USA Women’s Tennis Championship over Western Kentucky.
The Blue Raiders lost Friday in the quarterfinals of the tournament to fifth-seeded Rice, 4-3, in a true back-and-forth affair.
MTSU started strong on the day, capturing the doubles point to start the match, and led 1-0 heading into singles play. The duo of Brittany Huxley and Nayara Moraes defeated Caluk/Brozovich from FIU 8-2, and Jesse Grace and Sarah Sediri defeated Orlando/Briceno 8-3 to take the point.
The Panthers responded quickly, as Yana Koroleva defeated Blue Raider Tiffany William in straight sets at No. 1 singles. William put up a tough first set, but ultimately couldn’t recover, falling 6-4 6-1.
Playing No. 6 singles for MTSU, Sediri cruised in her match to give the Blue Raiders the lead once more. Sediri took care of Briceno in straight sets 6-2, 6-1.
Darya Shulzhanok and Carlotta Orlando battled hard at No. 2 singles, with neither player wanting to cost their team a point in the quarters. Orlando took the first set 6-4, but Shulzhanok was determined to force a third for the Blue Raiders. The second set ultimately went to a tiebreaker, with Orlando securing the point for FIU 6-4, 7-6 (8-6).
Tied at two, the Panthers and Blue Raiders traded matches once more. Nina Nagode secured the point at No. 3 singles over Grace in three sets 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-1. Grace lost momentum after taking the first set in a tiebreaker, and the Panthers held a slim lead.
At No. 4 singles, Huxley rallied from one set down to earn the tying point for MTSU. Huxley fell behind early, 5-7, but cruised in the last two sets, taking the point 5-7, 6-2, 6-1.
With a spot in the semifinals on the line, the final point came down to No. 5 singles. Moraes, a dominant player for the Blue Raiders all season, cruised in the first set 6-2, but couldn’t finish in the second set, losing it 6-7 (5-7), and a third set would decide the match. Moraes never recovered after the second set, and Brozovich sealed the point and the win for FIU, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.
The 2014-2015 season comes to a close for the Blue Raiders, and the team can go out with their heads held high. As a group, they finished the year with the most wins in a season since 2001-2002, and had win percentages above 70 percent in singles and above 65 percent in doubles. The Blue Raider women also finished the year with a perfect 10-0 mark at home.
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