Saturday, February 4, 2023

MTSU women’s tennis takes match vs Austin Peay

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Lilly-Sophie Schmidt rallies late in singles to take a 4-3 victory over Austin Peay for MTSU in a thrilling home opener.

After a rough opening weekend in Fort Meyers, FL, the Middle Tennessee women’s tennis team was determined to defend home turf in its first appearance at Adams Tennis Complex on Sunday. 

Doubles kicked off with the Blue Raider pairing of Sana Garakani and Noelle Mauro winning 6-3 over Jana Leder and Melody Hefti. 

Meanwhile, Love-Star Alexis and Rutuja Chaphalkar defeated the Governor pairing of Denise Torrealba and Yu-Hua Cheng 6-3, giving the doubles point to MTSU. 

Raiders Sophie Schmidt and Muskan Gupta were trailing Sophia Baranov and Lucy Lascheck 5-4 when the match was ruled unfinished. 

Noelle Mauro’s (1-2) performance in singles was nothing less than dominant, taking care of Baranov (0-1) in two sets with swift 6-2 and 6-0 victories. 

Love-Star Alexis (2-1) defeated Denise Torrealba (0-1) on the top court not long after by a score of 6-3 in both sets. 

Gupta struggled to find her groove on court three against Melody Hefti, eventually falling in two sets by scores of 6-2 and 6-3. Court six was a battle between two freshmen; Asia Fontana (1-0) took the first set 6-3 for Austin Peay. Her opponent, Chaphalkar (0-3) fought hard in the second set to force a tiebreaker but could not complete the comeback, eventually losing 7-5.

As most of the matches had been completed, Blue Raiders and Governors alike stood by on the adjacent courts in anticipation and support of their teammates. With the match score sitting at 3-2, the action on courts two and four would determine the victor. 

Garakani flashed some of the talent that has landed her on court two as a freshman by taking the first set 6-3 against Leder. The second set was a completely different story; Leder kept her cool and was able to grind out a 7-6 win. 

All eyes fell on court four where Sophie Schmidt (3-0) was in a back-and-forth battle with Yu-Hua Cheng (0-1). Cheng won her first set by a result of a 7-5, while all of the other courts had progressed well into their second sets. 

Schmidt won the next set a bit more decisively 6-3. The last two ladies on the court would be the reason the entire match spanned three hours and 48 minutes. Between points, hands on hips started to become a common occurrence as neither could hold any sort of advantage for long. A controversial call on a ball returned by Schmidt gave her the 7-6 win needed to win her match in addition to clinching victory for the Blue Raiders. 

Grant Langston is a sports reporter for MTSU Sidelines.

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