Women's tennis claims victory in season opener

Mizzou showed off well-rounded roster in a dominant performance over Old Dominion.
Tennis from last fall: Junior Brianna Lashway tosses the ball up before serving during a pre-meet practice in October 2016.

The Missouri women’s tennis team opened season play Sunday afternoon in a matchup against Old Dominion at the International Tennis Association Kick-off Classic in Berkeley, California.

The Tigers started out strong in doubles competition and picked up two quick wins to clinch the doubles point. Mizzou was able to carry the momentum into singles play, where they picked up three more wins securing the victory with a final score of 4-1.

Senior captain Bea Machado Santos got her season started in doubles competition paired with junior Clare Raley in the No. 2 position. The duo got off to a dominant start, taking an early 3-1 lead before earning a 6-3 victory.

Competing in the No. 3 doubles spot were freshman Tate Schroeder and senior Cassidy Spearman. Schroeder and Spearman were able to clinch the hard-fought match 7-5, after battling back from an early 1-0 hole. The duo has developed a vigorous chemistry, earning wins in their last four matchups dating back to the fall season.

The Tigers No. 1 doubles slot was occupied by juniors Amina Ismail and Brianna Lashway. The junior pairing got off to a slow start but came roaring back to take a 5-4 lead before their match was abandoned due to point-clinching victories in the other two pairings.

In singles play, it was the women in the lower-seeded positions that propelled Mizzou to the match victory.

Raley took the court again for the Tigers after securing a win in doubles. Despite playing a second match, she showed no signs of fatigue, putting on the most dominant performance of the day in the No. 6 position. Raley proved to be too overpowering for her opponent as she secured the first singles victory of the season for the Tigers, 6-1 and 6-2.

Ismail also came out to compete in her second match of the day and she picked up right where she left off after her sensational fall season, cruising to a 6-2, 6-2 victory with an imposing performance over Old Dominion’s Adriana Rajkovic. Ismail competed in the No. 5 position for the Tigers. The win is Ismail’s 16th since joining Missouri before the start of the fall season, which leads the team this season.

The match-clinching point came from Schroeder in the No. 4 position, who made quick work of Eliska Petrackova, 6-1, 6-2. The win is already her 10th victory in her young college career.

Machado Santos was unable to win her first singles match of the season after losing a close first set, 4-6. She struggled to find a rhythm in the second set, eventually falling 0-5.

Lashway and Spearman also competed in singles in the No. 2 and No. 3 positions, but both matches were ultimately abandoned after Mizzou secured all the points needed for a match victory on separate courts.

The Tigers’ depth proved to be the deciding factor in the match. Their depth could come to pay huge dividends as they continue in the later part of the season and fatigue begins to become a factor. Time will tell if the lower section of Mizzou’s roster can continue their dominant success, but if Sunday’s results hold true, Mizzou could give opponents with top-heavy rosters some serious trouble.

The victory was head coach Colt Gaston’s first dual victory since taking over the team in September.

Mizzou will face tournament host California tomorrow at 1 p.m.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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