Photo by Anthony Fiorella / Sidelines Archives
Story by Nathan Vaughan / Sports Reporter
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders came flying into a doubleheader on Saturday looking to extend its winning streak to four consecutive matches. Taking on Drake, the Blue Raiders began their day with a dogfight.
Max Rauch and Jan Porteset won first at the No. 3 doubles match, followed by Gonzalo Morrell Raschiatore and Miguel Negre Fernandez winning at the No. 2 match to secure the doubles point for the Blue Raiders.
In singles, MTSU leaned on its depth once again at the bottom of the order, as Gian Issa and Luis Morillo Diaz took their matches in straight sets. Raschiatore picked up the clinching win at the No.2 singles match with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory to push MTSU above the Bulldogs.
Only two hours later, the Blue Raiders faced their next opponent in the Alabama A&M Bulldogs. These Bulldogs didn’t put as much of a fight as the previous ones did however, as MTSU took this match 6-1.
Porteset was then the first MTSU player on the board in singles play, as he won a dominant match by a count of 6-1, 6-0 in straight sets. Edge and Moonen provided the needed points to win the match by winning their matches in straight sets.
Head Coach Jimmy Borendame also got to tinker with the lineup a bit, as he played Jacob Pugh in the No. 6 match. Though he was the only defeat on the day, Borendame knows that the depth on this team is incredible and not many teams can match it.
“We’re so deep, I feel bad announcing the lineup,” Borendame said. “Max, Nicolas, Jacob and Jan are all strong players, and it’s probably the toughest part of my day.”
Playing a doubleheader at this point in the season isn’t ideal for any squad, but Borendame’s team proved that it was nothing they couldn’t handle.
“Two matches in one day is always tough, a little bit more physical for the boys later in the season,” Borendame said. “The boys stepped up with a big win over Drake, and then we finished the day well.”
The slate gets no easier for Middle Tennessee, as they are set to host both Virginia Commonwealth and William & Mary next weekend in Murfreesboro.
“Last year, both of these matches were 4-3 thrillers,” Borendame said. “Against VCU, we were down match point and we came back to win. At William & Mary, that match was tied at three-all and Luis won a big match for us in the clincher.”
While the team may have fallen out of the ITA Top 50 last week, they are using it as motivation instead of sulking about it.
“We’re always checking every week to see if we are back in the rankings,” Porteset said. “It’s nice to be ranked, but we’re not focusing on it. We’re just focusing on our games and our opponents.”
MTSU faces VCU next Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Adams Tennis Complex.
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