Doubles play woes for women’s tennis continue in loss to Arkansas

The team has now lost three of its last four matches.
Maneater File Photo

Missouri women’s tennis (11-4) lost 4-1 to Southeastern Conference opponent No. 27 Arkansas on Friday afternoon.

The Tigers came into the day looking to put last weekend behind them, which saw them go 1-2 over the span of three days.

But the recent troubles that have plagued the team continued. The Tigers dropped the point for doubles play for the third time in four matches and managed to win just one match during singles play.

The day began with seniors Amina Ismail and Clare Raley pairing up to start doubles play. Their match ended in a 6-2 loss, putting Arkansas up early. Following that, sophomore Serena Nash and freshman Marta Oliveira tried to force a third doubles match match but fell 6-4.

With Arkansas up 1-0 on the day, singles play began. Nash started play with 6-0 and 6-2 losses in her two sets of play, giving the Razorbacks a 2-0 lead.

Sophomore Mackenzy Middlebrooks responded, though, winning in straight sets to cut the Razorbacks’ lead in half. Currently on an 18-set winning streak, Middlebrooks was the only player to win a set against Arkansas.

Freshman Taylor Gruber had a chance to tie the match up but ended up dropping both of her sets with consecutive 6-4 losses.

Down 3-1, the Tigers’ backs were against the wall and they couldn’t stage a comeback. Freshman Ellie Wright suffered the final loss of the match, losing, 6-3, 6-4.

After the loss, head coach Colt Gaston said the team needs to get back to the basics.

"Not the start that we wanted in our first SEC match, but we have to learn from it and stay hungry," Gaston said via a press release. "Getting back to our 'one way' mentality and completely buying in on big points, and playing them the right way, is what we need to improve on. We are overthinking a little bit instead of keeping simple targets and putting balls away. We have some work to do, and I look forward to getting back to the drawing board tomorrow."

Friday’s loss was Missouri’s third in its last four matches. The Tigers have failed to secure the doubles point in all three of their recent defeats.

Friday’s match marked the beginning of the second half of the season, as the team will now play solely SEC schools. No. 4 Vanderbilt will visit on March 9 at 4 p.m.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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