Photo and Story by Darius Horton / MTSU Sidelines
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (18-7) traveled to Norfolk, Virginia, to start the Conference USA tournament. They came into the tournament following a 4-1 win against Xavier and opened tournament play against the 12-seeded University of Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners. In short and quick fashion, the Blue Raiders secured their win and a spot in the quarterfinals by a score of 4-0.
The Blue Raiders came out hot against the Roadrunners, as they snagged the doubles point early. Kim Kermet and Luisa Zirilli won their match by a final of 6-2 to give Middle the momentum early. Lee Barnard and Marta Peris Herrero also won in their pairing with the same score to secure the point and give MTSU momentum heading into singles play.
After winning her doubles match, Barnard struck first in singles play as she won by a 6-2, 6-1 count. Costanza Magazzini extended the lead as she won her match at the top singles spot by a tally of 6-4, 6-1. This was her sixth win of the season, running her overall record to 6-2.
Standing on the brink of victory, the Blue Raiders thrusted their momentum from the two singles win and won their clinching match. Kermet sealed the deal for the team by winning at the third spot by a final score of 6-4, 6-0.
The win pushes the Blue Raiders record to 18-7 overall on the season, as they didn’t lose a single set in Thursday’s match.
They will stay in Norfolk for Friday when they will go against the fourth-seeded Florida Atlantic Owls. The match is set to start at 1 p.m. on Friday.
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