Lady Tiger Seniors Wrap Up Home Careers With 6-1 Victory Over Middle Tennessee
April 3, 2010
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A 6-1 victory for the University of Memphis women's tennis team over the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders sent the Lady Tigers' four seniors out with a win in their last home match at the University of Memphis Tennis Courts on Saturday afternoon.
The U of M capped off a great week of tennis with an unblemished 4-0 victory, improving their overall mark to 12-14, heading into matches against Southern Miss and Tulane to wrap up the regular season before the Conference USA Tournament from April 22-25 in Tulsa, Okla. Middle Tennessee falls to 8-6 on the year. The Blue Raiders were rated as high as No. 75 earlier in the 2010 season.
"I told the girls at the end of today's match coming into the week that I was confident but I was some what doubtful because we had played such a hard schedule coming into this week's matches," said Memphis head coach Lee Taylor Walker. "I told the girls they have handled it so well. All of the tough matches we have played earlier in the year have paid off as is evident by the way we played in the four matches this week. If I could pick a moment where I wanted our team to hit its stride it would be right now and we have done that."
To start the match, the No. 2 doubles tandem of Kelly Gray and Courtney Collins finished off the week with a 4-0 record after a 8-6 victory over Natalie Araya and Alex Dachos. Gray and Collins, both freshman for the Lady Tigers, are 13-6 to lead all Memphis doubles tandems during the 2010 season.
The Lady Tigers cliched their fourth doubles point of the week with a win in a tiebreaker from Ashley Murdock and Marjorie Ondeck, two of the Lady Tigers' four seniors participating in their final home matches at the U of M. Murdock and Ondeck won the match 9-8(3) over Carla Nava and Yuiri Nomoto. The Middle Tennessee pair falls to 6-3 on the year. Ondeck and Murdock improve to 11-12 in doubles on the 2010 season.
In singles, Memphis went ahead 2-0 in the match with the fourth singles victory of the week for Collins, a freshman from Fulton, Miss. She upended Araya, 6-1, 6-3, to improve her singles mark to 14-9.
The Lady Tigers took a 3-0 lead with a 6-4, 6-2, win from senior Dara Toulch at the No. 6 singles spot. Toulch improved her singles record to 4-6 on the 2010 season.
The Blue Raiders got on the board, 3-1, with a 7-5, 7-6 (7-6), win from Marietta Bigus over Brown, a senior from Whitby, Ontario. Brown's singles record fell to 7-15. She went back and forth in the second set of the match with Bigus but was unable to take the set and force a third set in the tiebreaker with her MTSU opponent.
Ondeck clinched her second Tiger victory in a row with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, win at the No. 3 singles spot. The senior from Monroe, Conn., had the decisive win in a three-set battle with her opponent from UAB on Friday night. Ondeck ended Saturday night with a singles mark of 10-11.
The Lady Tigers took a 5-1 lead in the match with a hard-fought victory from Murdock. In her last home match as a Lady Tiger the senior netter matched her career-best 15 singles wins in 2006-07 with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) victory over Nava at the No. 1 singles spot.
Gray, a freshman from Murfreesboro, Tenn., finished off the night with a 6-4, 6-7 (1-7), 6-4 victory at No. 5 singles over Coffey. Gray had already lost twice to Coffey in her collegiate career coming into the night but was able to pick up her fourth singles win of the week. Gray's singles record now stands at 9-15 on the season.
"I told the girls after the Louisiana-Monroe match and the UAB match, both were 4-3 wins, but we were actually a couple of points away from running away with both matches," Walker said. "I'm really proud of all the players and what they were able to do today."
Saturday's match marked the end of the home careers for Amanda Brown, Ashley Murdock, Marjorie Ondeck and Dara Toulch. Brown, Ondeck and Toulch were all members of the University of Memphis women's tennis team for four seasons after being recruited out of high school by former Lady Tiger head coach Charlotte Peterson. Murdock, a native of Memphis, joined the trio in 2006-07 after attending Louisiana State University to begin her career.
"We have been through a lot with this senior class," Walker said. "I'm going to miss them all. They have done a great job of buying into our program. I don't think there will ever be a senior class like them because we were all learning together."
The Memphis freshmen came up big in support of their teammates. Freshman Courtney Collins and Kelly Gray despite it being the final week of home matches for the Lady Tiger seniors. Collins and Gray wrapped up the week with a perfect 8-0 mark in singles and doubles.
"They were 8-0 this week which was just phenomenal," Walker said. "I told them if they win a few more they will forget what losing feels like. But they came in here and trusted what we were trying to do here immediately when they arrived in the fall."
Memphis will wrap up the regular season with away matches in Hattiesburg, Miss., on April 9 and April 10 against conference foes Southern Miss and Tulane.