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Raiders Lose Another Close One

Squad drops tight doubles point, leads in two matches when stopped

March 25, 2007 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee dropped a close doubles point and Andreas Siljestrom lost the deciding singles match, both sets in tiebreakers, as 24th-ranked Rice defeated the 39th-ranked Blue Raiders, 4-0, Sunday morning on the final day of the Rice Invitational in Houston, Texas.

The Blue Raiders (9-11) were up a set in two matches and Joao Paoliello split sets at No. 5 when the match was stopped. The two teams played for more than three hours after the Blue Raiders had four-plus hour matches against both William & Mary and Oklahoma. Middle Tennessee dropped all three matches at the tournament and has lost eight of its last 10 matches overall.

In doubles the Owls squeaked out a pair of 8-6 victories at Nos. 2 and 3 to claim the first point of the match.

Middle Tennessee's fourth-ranked duo of Andreas Siljestrom and Marco Born defeated Jason Mok and Tobias Scheil, 8-5, at No. 1, but Rice's Ben Harknett and Christoph Müller won 8-6 against Morgan Richard and Marc Rocafort at No. 2. Owls Ralph Knupfer and Filip Zivojinovic took care of Marc Boiron and Paoliello, 8-6, at No. 3.

In singles Rice (12-7) claimed all three completed singles match.

Müller defeated 113th-ranked Born, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 3, before Mok won 6-1, 6-2, over Alex McCann at No. 6. Harknett, ranked 28th nationally, outlasted 69th-ranked Siljestrom at No. 1 for the clinching point, 7-1 in the first-set tiebreaker and 7-2 in the second-set breaker.

Rocafort led Knupfer, 6-3, 5-4, at No. 2, Richard was up 7-6, 2-3, at No. 4 over Scheil and Paoliello and Zivojinovic split sets at No. 5, Zivojinovic winning the first set 6-4 and Paoliello the second set, 6-0.

"It was really a close match, just like we've been playing all month. We're so close yet so far," head coach Dale Short said. "If the guys keep giving the effort they gave [Sunday], we'll be OK. We're just a penny away.

"We've lost a lot of confidence because we've lost so many close matches, but I feel like we're still capable of winning the conference. We just have to get over the hump and win a tight match."

Middle Tennessee ends a 10-match road swing on Saturday, March 31, traveling to Tampa, Fla., to face the South Florida Bulls at 11 a.m.

#24 Rice 4, #39 Middle Tennessee 0
SINGLES
1. (28) Ben Harknett (Rice) def. (69) Andreas Siljestrom (MT), 7-6 (1), 7-6 (2)
2. Ralph Knupfer (Rice) vs. Marc Rocafort (MT), 3-6, 5-4, unfinished
3. Christoph Müller (Rice) def. (113) Marco Born (MT), 6-3, 6-4
4. Tobias Scheil (Rice) vs. Morgan Richard (MT), 6-7, 3-2, unfinished
5. Filip Zivojinovic (Rice) vs. Joao Paoliello (MT), 6-4, 0-6, unfinished
6. Jason Mok (Rice) def. Alex McCann (MT), 6-1, 6-2
Order of Finish: 3,6,1*

DOUBLES
1. (4) Born-Siljestrom (MT) def. Mok-Scheil (Rice), 8-5
2. Harknett-Müller (Rice) def. Richard-Rocafort (MT), 8-6
3. Knupfer-Zivojinovic (Rice) def. Marc Boiron-Paoliello (MT), 8-6
Order of Finish: 1,2,3*

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