Ábrahám, Missouri win big as Saint Louis doesn’t win a single set

Missouri defeated Saint Louis 4-0 Friday with strong performance from Ábrahám and Missouri’s doubles.
Serena Nash crouches down, awaiting the serve of her St. Louis University opponents. Nash would go on to win the game, along with her partner Gabrielle Goldin. | Photo by Photo Editor Andrew Moore

It started with the crack of the racket, the thump off the court, and the crash against the tarp behind play, and finished with a victorious shriek as sophomore Vivien Ábrahám won yet another point against Saint Louis on Friday night bringing Missouri to a 4-0 victory.

“We’ve been really proud of her trust in her game and her going for her shots,” coach Colt Gaston said. “She’s done a great job and her confidence is soaring right now.”

Ábrahám started the day by not dropping a single game through her doubles set, winning 6-0. Her and teammate junior Ellie Wright forced the ball deep and repeatedly took advantage at the net, winning several of their points through winners right up front.

Singles did not change much. Ábrahám repeatedly served and volleyed, winning several points by hitting a winner on her first return. She was able to handle her opponent senior Cassie McKenzie’s serve too, losing only two games total in the two sets the match went through.

Wright’s singles match had similar results. After winning a tight first set 6-4, she dominated the second set defeating opponent sophomore Mika Misgav, 6-0.

Freshman Elys Ventura’s singles match was cut short. She won the first set 6-0, and then the first three games of the second set before her opponent, freshman Adriana Rodriguez, could no longer play, retiring from the match and giving victory to Ventura.

As a team, Missouri won the double’s point quickly. The teams of sophomore Lisa Fukutoku and Ventura won 6-2, while Ábrahám and Wright swept the set 6-0 to clinch the double’s point. Despite not finishing due to the speed at which the other two pairs won, seniors Serena Nash and Gabrielle Goldin could also have won their match, as they were up 4-2 when the doubles point was secured.

Gaston was pleased with the way the double’s went. “We have to be a good doubles team,” he said. “That’s something we’ve emphasized for years. We’re clicking on the court. There’s more comradery between the teams just knowing what each other’s gonna do. A good chemistry is what I’m seeing out there.”

This 4-0 win had put Missouri up to 4-0 on the season prior to a loss Sunday at Kansas State University. Now Missouri will be beginning a four match homestand, as they will be hosting Wichita State, Old Dominion, Bradley University, and Southeastern Missouri State.

According to Gaston, the lineup used today is not necessarily the one that the team will have moving forward.

“With this group, I don’t think any number’s really solidified,” he said. “I think that’s the best part of it. We just have a really talented pool of kids and they could literally switch any day. If you’re at the top, like Serena, then you hold your spot.”

While the singles lineup appears to be fairly fluid, Gaston believes the double’s lineup is much more likely to stay consistent.

“We’re not trying to change a lot [in doubles],” he said. I think we’re going to take a look at a couple different players, but I think for the most part we’ve stuck with the same teams and we’re kind of building and growing.”

Last year’s Tigers team had a similar start to their campaign, winning six of their first seven matches before going 0-13 in conference play and losing last year’s number one Mackenzy Middlebrooks, who transferred to Clemson University.

The Tigers have just five more matches to prepare for this season’s Southeastern Conference play which will include matchups against the last two runner-ups in the NCAA women’s tennis championships, the University of Georgia and Vanderbilt University, as well as 2017 champions, the University of Florida.

Edited by Wilson Moore | wmoore@themaneater.com

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