Mizzou tennis drops fifth straight match after disappointing weekend

The Tigers are still searching for their first league win.
Freshman Marta Oliveira returns a serve in a singles match on Feb. 10, 2018.

After going 11-3 against non-conference teams, Missouri tennis dropped five straight matches to Southeastern Conference teams.

After a 10-game homestand, the team traveled to College Station, Texas, on March 15 for a match against No. 42 Texas A&M.

The day began with the Tigers winning their first doubles match. The duo of freshman Ellie Wright and sophomore Mackenzy Middlebrooks dominated their set, 6-0, and put the team just one win away from securing the doubles point. However, senior Amina Ismail and sophomore Serena Nash fell to Texas A&M, 6-2, evening up the match. Securing the doubles point came down to freshman Marta Oliveira and senior Clare Raley, but after a close set, the duo narrowly lost, 7-6, giving the Aggies the early lead.

Singles play also failed to go the Tigers’ way, as they dropped all three sets. Raley, Nash and freshman Taylor Gruber all suffered losses and the Tigers lost the match, 4-0.

Two days later, the team traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to face LSU inanother SEC match.

Like two days prior, the team failed to grab the doubles point. Oliveira and Raley started the match but were unable to keep it as close as their last match together. They dropped the opening set, 6-0. Ismail and Nash tried to tie the doubles match, but were dealt a 6-1 loss.

They fared better in singles play when Oliveira won both her matches 6-0, but LSU got a point right back after Gruber lost both her sets. The teams continued to trade off wins, with Wright securing Mizzou’s second point, but LSU took the final two matches and beat Missouri 4-2.

Following the disappointing loss, head coach Colt Gaston spoke about the rough start the Tigers faced.

“The girls played their hearts out in singles after a rough start in doubles, and as a coach that shows me a lot about these Tigers,” Gaston said in a press release. "We have to keep competing and fighting at that level, and most importantly stick with the process. We look forward to getting back at it and building next week."

Mizzou will be returning home March 23 to face Mississippi State, with the match time set at 5 p.m.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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