Photo by Devin P. Grimes / MTSU Sidelines
Story by Nathan Vaughan / Sports Reporter
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders hosted the Conference USA Pod this weekend at the Adams Tennis Complex and were looking to improve on a strong start to conference play.
The weekend did not get off to a great start, though, as they fell to the top team in C-USA in Old Dominion by a tally of 4-0 on Friday.
Blue Raiders fall to ODU in shutout
The Monarchs threw a nationally ranked doubles team at Middle Tennessee first, and they defeated the team of Chris Edge and Tom Moonen 6-1 to secure an early 1-0 advantage.
Old Dominion followed that by dominating singles play to win the match by a final score of 4-0. As the score clearly displayed, this was not the way Middle wanted to start the weekend.
“I didn’t feel like we played very well on Friday,” said Head Coach Jimmy Borendame. “(ODU) looks like they are going to be the number one seed, while we look like we are going to be the two-seed.”
Looking to bounce back, Middle Tennessee played Charlotte next on Saturday.
MTSU uses shutout of their own to defeat 49ers
They reacted in spectacular fashion, recording a shutout of their own in a 4-0 win over the Charlotte 49ers.
Max Rauch and Jan Porteset won the decisive doubles match to keep the 49ers off the scoreboard early. In singles play, Edge, Miguel Negre Fernandez and Luis Morillo Diaz cleaned house with wins in each of their matches to end the day early.
Needless to say, this was a much better performance, and the man in charge was in much better spirits.
“(Saturday) was solid; I’m really happy,” Borendame said. “The boys were ready to go, and played really well. It’s a good momentum (boost).”
Raiders close weekend in solid fashion with win over FAU
The final match of the weekend pitted the Blue Raiders against the Owls of Florida Atlantic. This was actually a close match, and though it looked like Middle would lose the doubles point, they rallied and secured the early lead behind the play of Gonzalo Morell Raschiatore.
This continued a strong trend of winning the doubles point for MTSU, as they controlled all, but one of the points this weekend.
“This year, we have only lost a handful of doubles matches,” Borendame said. “This year might be our best start in a while, and a big piece of that is doubles.”
While the top of the order battled to gain control in singles play, it was the bottom order that included performances from Gian Issa and Diaz that allowed MTSU to extend the lead. Issa picked up a 6-2, 6-3 victory, while Diaz rebounded from a bad first set to secure a three-set win and the match for Middle.
“Gian has been playing really well; I think he has two losses this season,” Borendame said. “(Luis) is a little bulldog. I can always count on him. He’s going to play his game and do his thing.”
The two wins and single loss move MT’s record to 14-4 on the season, showing progress that Borendame is very happy about.
“Having the same players for two years is awesome,” Borendame said. “Everyone knows everyone, they know what I expect.”
The Blue Raiders will travel to Mobile, Alabama on Friday to take on South Alabama.
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