Lady Raiders Set to Face Sun Belt Foe South Alabama

April 1, 2004 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - No. 59th ranked Middle Tennessee women's tennis (10-7) will face Sun Belt foe South Alabama (9-7), ranked 56 in the ITA, Friday in Mobile, Alabama.

The Lady Raiders received their first ranking of the season when the ITA released its latest poll on Tuesday. It is the highest Middle Tennessee has been ranked since being 59th in February of 2001.

"We have been competing a lot better this season and picking up key wins," said head coach Randy Holden. "We have had some opportunities to win some big matches but just fell short, but still I am pleased with the team's overall performance."

Middle Tennessee has been receiving a big confidence boost in its matches thanks to the play at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. Manon Kruse and Carien Venter, who play at No. 1 doubles and are ranked 11th in the ITA, are on a 15-match winning streak and are almost automatic. The duo picked up their biggest win of the year when they upset Vanderbilt's then 3rd ranked doubles team in the country 8-4. The Lady Raiders are also getting quality wins with its No. 2 doubles tandem of Jennifer Klaschka and Laura McNamara who are currently ranked 48th.

"The play of our No. 1 and No. 2 doubles team have really given the team the confidence to come out and play hard in singles, especially when we pick up the doubles point," Holden said. "Our doubles teams have come in and proved they can play with anybody in the country, as shown from our big wins over Vanderbilt's doubles teams."

The Lady Raiders have played four ranked opponents in the last five matches, and Holden expects that experience to help the team when they face South Alabama on their home court on Friday. It very well could be a preview of the Sun Belt Tournament finals, if both teams play well down the stretch and have a successful tournament.

"I believe we need to go down to South Alabama and set a tone," Holden said. "I think the match will be really even and come down to who wants it more."

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