Photo by Tyler Lamb / Sports Editor
The Middle Tennessee women’s tennis team hosted nationally acclaimed VCU in a match that went down to the wire Sunday afternoon at the Adams Tennis Complex in Murfreesboro. VCU was ultimately victorious as they slipped past MTSU 4-3, capping off the afternoon with a 7-6 thriller in the final singles match of the day, handing the Blue Raiders their second-straight home loss.
While MTSU almost came out with a win, the day didn’t start out so well for them in doubles play.
The first match to finish occurred on court 1 where senior Sarah Sediri and sophomore Luisa Zirilli were unable to slow down the Rams pairing of Anna Rasmussen and Janina Braun from winning 6-1.
The next match that finished was over on court three where the Blue Raiders were able to win in convincing fashion. Junior Josefina Zehnder and freshman Marta Peris Herrero were beat VCU’s Noumea Witmus and Gabriela Araujo 6-2.
With the momentum on their side, Blue Raiders Costanza Magazzini and Lidia Burrows were unable to get the job done on court 2. The combination of Magazzini and Borrows had been beaten just twice out of their last 11 matches together.
Dropping 6-3 to Darya Berazhnaya and Magna Aubets, the Rams took a 1-0 led heading into singles.
This is where the tide would turn for MTSU.
Magazzini immediately redeemed herself in No. 3 singles, winning 7-5, 6-0 to jumpstart her squad.
VCU would regain the overall lead as Zirilli fell to Berazhnaya in straight sets 6-2, 6-4. This would be short lived, however, as MTSU’s lone senior, Sediri, would triumph to an emotional 7-5, 6-3 win over VCU’s Witmus.
“She’s another one who’s struggled a little bit as of late with confidence. So for her to go out and fight the way she did today..she didn’t play well at all on Friday,” head coach Charlie Ramsey said. “She laid it out there for us on the line and that’s what we needed all six of our girls to do and she lead the way. You know our senior, she got out there and was very emotional and pulled it through. It was great.”
— Whit Turnbow (@CoachWTurnbow) March 26, 2017
Both teams would trade wins once more as VCU’s Rasmussen beat Burrows 6-3, 6-4 and MTSU’s Herrero would beat Araujo identically 6-3, 6-4 in singles No. 5.
Tied 3-3 overall, it came down to the singles No. 1 matchup between Middle Tennessee’s Zehnder and VCU’s Braun.
Braun got the early advantage, taking the first set 7-5. With her back against the wall, Zehnder rallied with her team by her side cheering her on to a dominant 6-1 second set to tie it all up, forcing a third set for all the marbles.
In the third and final set of the day, fans saw a back-and-forth grudge match. Tied 6-6, it was Braun who took home the W and gave MTSU a heartbreaking 4-3 overall loss on the day.
“Yeah it was a great college tennis match. Both team’s played really hard. From start to finish it was a battle,” Ramsey said. “I’m really proud of the way we fought. I’m really proud of Josi for getting herself into that position and I just thought it was a great match.
MTSU’s all-time record against VCU is now knotted 2-2.
— Tyler Lamb (@Tlamb35) March 26, 2017
MTSU will now get a few days of rest before heading to New Orleans for a doubleheader matchup on Friday against Tulane University at 10 a.m. and the University of New Orleans at 3 p.m.
The Blue Raiders will return to Murfreesboro on April 7 to take on conference foe UAB at 2 p.m.