Missouri tennis continues to struggle, falls against two ranked opponents over the weekend

The Tigers have now lost seven straight conference matches.
Maneater File Photo

Missouri women’s tennis entered two weekend matches looking to rekindle some of the brilliant play that brought it much success early in the season. Since a fierce start to the season, the Tigers have gone cold as conference play has brought tougher opponents.

The Tigers came into the weekend having dropped five straight matches, and the schedule brought no relief as they faced No. 5 Vanderbilt and No. 11 Kentucky. The Tigers’ struggles continued as they fell 6-1 on Friday to the Commodores and 4-1 on Sunday to the Wildcats.

Doubles competition, once a strong point for the Tigers, has now become a liability. Mizzou failed to clinch the doubles point again on Friday, dropping the matches in the No. 2 and No. 3 positions by wide margins.

Not only did Vanderbilt enter singles play up 1-0, but the team also came in with two of the top-12 singles players in the nation, according to the ITA weekly rankings. Mizzou would have to elevate its play just to stay in the match.

The outmatched Tigers continued to struggle. Junior Amina Ismail was defeated in straight sets 6-1, 6-3. Senior Cassidy Spearman struggled with her ranked opponent, falling 6-4, 6-2. Shortly thereafter, junior Clare Raley fell 6-1, 6-4, giving Vanderbilt a 4-0 lead.

After agreeing to play out the remaining matches, freshman Tate Schroeder was the lone bright spot as she continued her dominance, picking up her 12th singles win of the season. She prevailed 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 in a super tiebreak.

Bea Machado Santos battled hard against Astra Sharma, the nation's No. 5 ranked singles players, but was ultimately defeated in straight sets 7-5, 6-4.

The Tigers finished off the weekend traveling to Lexington, Kentucky, to face the No. 11 Kentucky Wildcats.

After falling behind quickly in doubles with a loss at the No. 3 position, the Tigers secured their greatest achievement of the weekend.

Santos and Ismail, again competing in the No. 1 position, pulled off a stunning upset, beating the nation's No. 4-ranked pairing 6-2.

Missouri, however, was unable to capitalize on the upset, as the No. 2 pairing of Schroeder and Spearman was defeated 6-3.

Schroeder tried to give the Tigers life in singles play. She picked up yet another victory 6-1, 6-2, cutting the Wildcats’ lead in half with Mizzou still trailing 2-1.

It wouldn’t be enough, however, as Ismail and Spearman continued to struggle, each succumbing to defeat as Kentucky secured the match win, 4-1.

Missouri will compete in its final home matches this weekend as Tennessee visits Columbia on Friday with first serve scheduled for 5 p.m. The Georgia Bulldogs will be the final home match of the season for the Tigers, with first serve scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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