Story by Elisha Nelson / Contributing Writer
The Blue Raiders men’s tennis team bested the No. 24 ranked Auburn Tigers in impressive fashion on Friday, improving to 10-3 on the year to give them their first win over a ranked opponent since 2006.
For the Middle Tennessee men, the night started out with an amped up crowd inside the Adams Tennis Complex, where they continue to find success playing in. Auburn began the night clinching the first series of the match, but their success was cut short by a valiant effort from the Blue Raiders down the stretch.
Middle Tennessee’s Pavel Motl finished off the match in a close bout against Auburn’s Will Nolan (2-6, 6-2, 5-7), with the series coming down to a 5-5 tie and Motl finishing the set victorious after an attempt at an answer proved costly for Nolan after hitting the ball out of play. The crowd full of Middle Tennessee faithful erupted following the game-winning point
The formerly unbeaten Auburn Tigers now sit at 8-1 but can take away some promising performances from the night, with Finn Murgett not allowing MTSU’s Oskar Poulsen to get a win over him and teammate Raul Dobai contributing to his team’s 4-2 effort on Friday.
“Awesome top 25 win, first win since 2006. So many great performances from the guys, and the crowd tonight was electric,” Were the words from head coach Jimmy Borendame after the match, where he expressed much optimism for the men’s tennis team headed forward. “I really want to make sure I want to say thank you to all who came out to support the team. There were so many great performances out there, the guys really stepped up and I am really proud of the way they competed today. I still think we can do better, and we’ll work on some things tomorrow, and get ready for a tough Michigan State team.”
The Blue Raiders, who held the longest home winning streak in the NCAA (33), now look to catch fire again with their streak extending to four wins on the year. They will travel to East Lansing, Michigan over the weekend where they are set to face Michigan State in another crucial match that could give Middle Tennessee one of the best starts to a season in program history.