Women’s Tennis: Blue Raiders take early doubles point, defeat South Alabama 4-2

Photo by Darius Horton / MTSU Sidelines

Photo by Darius Horton / MTSU Sidelines

Story by Nathan Vaughan / Sports Reporter

The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders hosted the South Alabama Jaguars in their penultimate game of the regular season, and they were looking to string together a nice run heading into the Conference USA Tournament. The Blue Raiders did just that, as they captured a 4-2 win at the Adams Tennis Complex.

Middle Tennessee started off with a yet another win in the doubles competition, as Kim Kermet and Luisa Zirilli won 6-1 over their foes. Costanza Magazzini and Josefina Zehnder secured the point with a 6-4 win over their opponents.

“I thought we played a great doubles point today,” said Head Coach Charlie Ramsay. “It proved to be pretty crucial, and I’m glad we were on the good end of it today.”

The Blue Raiders received a tough challenge from the Jaguars in singles play, with five matches reaching the decisive third set. Zirilli was the first MTSU player to win, as a hip injury forced South Alabama to retire the match in the third set with Zirilli up 4-1. Zehnder was next, as she locked up a win at the No. 1 match to put Middle a mere point away from winning the match.

Kermet and Lee Barnard each dropped tough matches to lead to a 3-2 score in favor of MTSU, before Lidia Burrows clinched the match with a 7-3 tiebreak win in the final set.

This is nothing new for Burrows, as she completed a huge comeback for Middle Tennessee in a 4-3 win over Western Kentucky on Mar. 25. 

“(Burrows) loves the moment,” Ramsay said. “Lidia is perfect for those moments because she stays pretty calm and doesn’t get too emotional on the court. That can work in your corner in those moments. She’s been really successful and she stepped up today.”

While her team never doubted her, Burrows admitted after the match that the thought of defeat did creep into her mind at one point.

“I thought I was going to lose about halfway through, actually,” Burrows said. “I was very up and down. One minute, I was winning and then she was winning. It could’ve gone either way, so I was lucky to win.”

The win moves MTSU’s record to 16-7 on the season, and it also moved the record for most wins in the Charlie Ramsay era up another digit.

With all of that being said, the Blue Raiders know their season isn’t over yet.

“We’ve got a lot of work left to do,” Ramsay said. “I think this team can do a lot of damage. We’ve got to start on Sunday, and then carry it into the tournament.”

The Blue Raiders will host Xavier on Sunday at noon at the Adams Tennis Complex to finish the regular season.

To contact Sports Editor Rusty Ellis, email sports@mtsusidelines.com.

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