MURRAY — Murray State women’s tennis competed at the Bethany Moore Invitational, hosted by Ball State University, playing in both singles and doubles competitions at the two-day tournament over the weekend in Muncie, Indiana. The Racers saw a plethora of outstanding performances, highlighted by a flight “A” doubles championship from the team of Natalie Slezakova and Stasya Sharapova.
“These tournaments are great for us to see the identity of this team and the things we have to work on. Overall, we played good tennis, but I feel like we fell short in some of the singles matches - and that’s something we need to address, because we could have won a few more singles matches this weekend. I know the girls left it all out there, so it is just a matter of executing some shots a little better, and we will definitely spend time working on it,” said MSU head coach Jorge Caetano.
The Racers saw great success in doubles, as all four pairs won at least two matches, with the duo of Natalie Slezakova and Stasya Sharapova leading the way with a perfect 3-0 record on the weekend as they claimed the flight “A” doubles championship.
“We went 9-3 overall in doubles with Natalie and Stasya going a perfect 3-0, and the other three teams going 2-1, so I am very pleased with the way we played this weekend, knowing that we can improve even more. We have been spending a lot of time working on doubles and teaching the girls different ways of playing the game, and I am so glad that they are getting out of their comfort zone and are embracing our philosophy,” added Caetano.
“Natalie and Stasya played great doubles together, and I couldn’t be more proud of them for claiming the title. They were up 6-2 in the final match, and saw their opponent claw back to tie it all at 7-7, but managed to stay calm and re-focus on our strategy in order to get the win.”
“Sara Loncarevic and Samantha Muller also had a fantastic tournament, dropping a hard-fought 8-7 match in the finals, and I feel like that match could have gone either way the entire time. One or two points made the difference in the end, so props to their opponents,” said Caetano.
In singles, Claire Chang, Sara Loncarevic, and Samantha Muller each reached at least the semifinals in their respective flights.
“I’m glad to see Claire back on the court playing some good tennis. She has been a strong force for us every year, and seeing her in control of all three matches she played this weekend (even in her one loss) is encouraging and exactly what we need from her.
“Sara Loncarevic had another strong showing, and was only a few points away from claiming the title, which is frustrating, but I am very happy with the way she has been playing going all the way back to last fall,” concluded Caetano.
The Racers will close their fall season by hosting the Murray State Invitational, which is set to run on October 25th-26th in Murray, Kentucky.