The Maneater

Five observations from women's tennis team a month into season

The team is off to an 8-1 start.

Freshman Marta Oliveira returns a serve in a singles match on Feb. 10, 2018.

One month into the tennis season, Tiger fans have plenty to be happy about with the team’s play. Here are five things fans have learned about the tennis team so far.

They take advantage of home court

The Tigers use the crowd behind them. The team doesn’t just win at home; it dominates. Over the span of four matches, Missouri has outscored opponents 20-2. The Tigers will have plenty more chances to keep improving that record too, as their next eight matches will be in Columbia.

They are shutout pros

The Tigers have played a total of nine matches this year. Out of those nine, the team has swept opponents in five games, two of which were at home. Players like sophomore Mackenzy Middlebrooks, freshman Ellie Wright and freshman Taylor Gruber have all contributed greatly to those wins. Missouri has been heating up recently; the Tigers have four shutouts in their past six games.

Doubles are strong

One of the strongest parts of the team is its doubles play. This past weekend, the Tigers showed they have some truly formidable pairs. Sophomore Serena Nash and senior Clare Raley are on a six-set win streak and hold a season record of 9-2. Middlebrooks and Wright are right behind them with an overall record of 8-2 and have won three straight matches.

Singles play has been tremendous too

Of the nine players on this year’s team, six have winning records. Middlebrooks is on a 12-set win streak, Wright is 11-6 this season and Raley is 5-2 through her last seven matches. Whether the Tigers can keep up this hot start remains to be seen, but so far, so good.

The second half of the season will be very different

The team plays 27 games this season, excluding the SEC Tournament. The first 14 matches are against non-conference teams, while the final 13 games will consist of all SEC teams. That will be a very important part of the season because every game will be a conference game and wins will be huge for the standings, since the top four seeds of the SEC tournament will get a first-round bye.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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