The Maneater

Missouri tennis rides perfect weekend to 5-0 record in January

Sophomore Mackenzy Middlebrooks and freshman Ellie Wright are undefeated on the season for the Tigers.

Sophomore Mackenzy Middlebrooks swings during a match against Southeast Missouri State University Jan. 20. Middlebrooks beat her opponents 6-1 and 6-2 in singles and 6-1 in doubles with freshman teammate Ellie Wright. courtesy of Mizzou Athletics

The Missouri tennis team has gotten off to a blistering-hot start to the 2018 season, posting a 5-0 record over five matches since the team restarted play on Jan. 20 after an almost three-month hiatus. The Tigers had last competed on Oct. 22 at the ITA Central Regional in Lawrence, Kansas.

Missouri’s return to competition started on Jan. 20, when the team posted 5-0 and 6-1 victories over the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks and the Central Arkansas Bears, respectively, at the Mizzou Tennis Complex.

Against the Redhawks, senior Amina Ismail, sophomore Mackenzy Middlebrooks and freshman Ellie Wright all went 2-0 to pace the Tigers. Ismail and freshman Taylor Gruber teamed up for a 6-2 victory in their doubles match, while the partnership of Middlebrooks and Wright combined for a 6-1 victory. The wins gave Missouri the doubles point in the match. Middlebrooks, Wright and Ismail all won convincingly in their singles matches, as none of the women lost more than three games against their Redbirds opponents.

Ismail, Middlebrooks and Wright were the stars against the Bears as well. All three won both their doubles and singles matches.

Missouri carried its success from Jan. 20 into the team’s road trip to Ithaca, New York, from Jan. 26-28. The team once again picked up the doubles point against the Cornell Big Red on Jan. 26, winning two of the team’s three doubles matches. While Missouri had more trouble in the singles matches against the Big Red than against the Redhawks or the Bears, wins from Wright, Middlebrooks and Gruber were enough to put Missouri over the top and clinch a 4-2 match victory.

Missouri’s most complete day of the season to date came Jan. 28, when the team capped off a perfect road trip with 4-0 wins over Army and Binghamton. Middlebrooks and Wright picked up wins in the Army match and had their matches against Binghamton suspended to remain undefeated on the season. On the weekend, Missouri went 24-3 overall in matches against Cornell, Army and Binghamton.

Head coach Colt Gaston said the effort his team put in on the road trip was encouraging.

“We have been trying to get off to better starts, and I thought we did a good job of that today,” Gaston said in a press release. “Overall, it was a great weekend for us, and we look forward to continuing to build next week."

Next up for the team is a trip to Blacksburg, Virginia, on Feb. 3 to take on Virginia Tech at 11 a.m. and Radford at 4 p.m.

Edited by Will Skipworth | wskipworth@themaneater.com

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