Photo by Darwin Moore / MTSU Sidelines
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raider women’s tennis team fought today in a tough match against the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, but Marta Peris Herrero fell in the decisive match on court No.5 as the Blue Raiders fell by a final score of 4-3 at the Adams Tennis Complex.
The Blue Raiders got the day off to a good start by winning the doubles point, behind two dominant wins by MT. Costanza Magazzini and Lidia Burrows won the No.2 match by a score of 6-2, while Josefina Zehnder and Herrero shut out USM 6-0 in the No.3 match.
The Eagles performed much better in the singles portion of the competition by taking a commanding 3-1 lead with three matches to go. With their backs up against the wall, Middle didn’t give in and began working on the comeback.
Luisa Zirilli made the first dent in the deficit, winning the No.4 singles match in three sets by scores of 3-6, 6-4 and 7-6 (7-4).
Magazzini lost her opening set 7-5, but roared back to win her second one by the same margin. With the game hanging in the balance for the Blue Raiders, Magazzinin buckled down and won a third set battle by a score of 7-5 to tie the overall match at three.
This led to Herrero’s match on court five. After losing the first set 6-3, Herrero took the victory in the second set and set the match up for a wild finish. Leading 6-5, USM’s Tjasa Jerse scored the next two points to force a tie-breaker. Though she fought hard to the end, Herrero couldn’t overcome an early deficit and fell in 7-6 fashion to give the Eagles the 4-3 victory.
Wind played a big factor today by forcing players to adjust how they hit the ball, but head coach Charlie Ramsey knew that both teams had to deal with it, therefore his team couldn’t use it as a crutch.
“I think it was the same for both teams,” Ramsey said. “It was windy, but it was just as windy for them as it was for us.”
The comeback really started with Zirilli, as a loss would’ve led to an early ending. The team’s fight as a whole was a good sign, knowing that the Conference USA tournament is on the horizon.
“Right now at this point in the season, we’re playing really good. Everybody is fighting back when we are down,” Zirilli said. “Today, the team was really close…I think it’s great that we’re getting near the conference [tournament] because everyone is fighting as hard as they can.”
With the match today, senior Sarah Sediri’s home career with Middle Tennessee is over, but not before she left her mark on the program.
“It’s been the best four years of my life,” Sediri said. “The people [I’ve met] and the person I’ve become are all going to help me to keep growing. It’s been the greatest experience.”
— Cody Strickler (@CodyStricklerSL) April 9, 2017
The Blue Raiders will hit the road and take on South Alabama on April 14. The match is set to begin at 1 p.m.