Blue Raiders open weekend with strong win over Blazers

Middle Tennessee wins doubles point for ninth time this spring

March 26, 2010 · Athletic Communications

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Taking a near two-week break off from competition did not seem to faze the Middle Tennessee women's tennis team, as it earned the doubles point and wins in four of six singles matches to seal a 5-2 road victory at UAB Friday afternoon in Birmingham, Ala. The Blue Raiders, who had not played since winning at South Alabama March 14, posted straight-set triumphs in three of the four singles decisions.

"Today was a great day for our team," head coach Alison Ojeda said. "We came out ready to go in doubles and won the point. What I am most proud of is the fact that every singles player (all seven) came out focused and inspired in singles. We knew ahead of time UAB has been losing the doubles point and finding a way to win four of the singles, so we challenged our team to out-fight them and treat this match like it was the finals of our conference tourney. We did just that."

Middle Tennessee (7-5) picked up the doubles point for the ninth time in its dozen matches, clinching wins at the No. 2 and 3 positions. Newcomers Carla Nava and Yuiri Nomoto registered an 8-3 triumph over Paula Alvarez and Brittany DeFelice at the No. 2 spot. Anna Djananova and Taylor Coffey sealed the Blue Raiders' second win with an 8-0 sweep over the Blazers' Richole Berger and Jenny Cape during the No. 3 contest.

The Nava/Nomoto pairing's victory was its fifth of the season, while Djananova/Coffey combined for their fourth triumph this spring.

The momentum carried over into singles action, particularly in the middle of the lineup, where MT captured victories at the No. 1, and 3 through 5, positions with Nomoto and Coffey winning their team-high seventh matches of the campaign.

Nava started the action with a 6-3, 6-2 win against Alvarez at the No. 1 position, evening her season mark at 6-6. Nomoto also locked up a 6-3, 6-2 triumph in her contest at No. 4 against Menanteau Moolman.

Coffey dominated Krista Cole in the No. 5 meeting, handing the UAB (8-7) freshman a 6-3, 6-0 setback.

Djananova was the other Blue Raider to win in singles action, rallying from a set down to pull out a 0-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Giorgia Romeo at No. 3 singles in the only three-set match.

"Carla played the most solid tennis from start to finish and ultimately broke her opponent down. Yuiri has been working on maturing as a tennis player and trying to catch her mind up with her physical talent. She did just that today. Taylor has continued to show her dedication to her team and her tennis by being as fit as she possibly can. She looks forward to playing long matches because she can either step up and attack, or she can play a 50-ball rally, if needed. Anna clinched another big match for us today as she beat a girl who is now 9-3 on the season. Anna lost the first set after playing pretty well but kept her head up. (Assistant Coach) Melissa (Schaub) challenged her to stay on the court as long as possible for her team and in doing so, she battled back to win the second and third sets. It is the never give up mentality that allowed her the chance to play the kind of tennis she did today."

Araya and Marietta Bigus battled hard in their respective singles matches at No. 2 and 6, but the Blazers' opponents were able to prevail.

Alex Dachos played an exhibition match against Berger which did not count in the team results and the Blue Raider sophomore won 7-6.

"Although Natalie and Marietta did not win their matches today, I am proud of them because they got better today by working hard and staying disciplined with their strategy. Their opponents were just too good today. Alex played only a set, but in doing so, she battled out the first before it was called.

"We would like to thank Mr. Coffey for making the drive to support us today. It makes a little nicer to see a familiar face while competing on the road. "Our team faces UTEP tomorrow morning in what should be another battle that we look forward to competing in."

Middle Tennessee will remain in Birmingham for a neutral-site match at 10 a.m. Saturday when it faces UTEP. The Miners are 9-7, having dropped four of their last five matches after winning seven consecutive.

Middle Tennessee 5, UAB 2

No. 1 Carla Nava (MT) def. Paula Alvarez (UAB) 6-3, 6-2
No. 2 Evelien Strijker (UAB) def. Natalie Araya (MT) 6-3, 6-1
No. 3 Anna Djananova (MT) def. Giorgia Romeo (UAB) 0-6, 6-3, 6-3
No. 4 Yuiri Nomoto (MT) def. Menanteau Moolman (UAB) 6-3, 6-2
No. 5 Taylor Coffey (MT) def. Brittany DeFelice (UAB) 6-3, 6-0
No. 6 Jenny Cape (UAB) def. Marietta Bigus (MT) 6-4, 6-3

No. 1 Romeo/Strijker (UAB) def. Araya/Bigus (MT) 8-3
No. 2 Nava/Nomoto (MT) def. Alvarez/DeFelice (UAB) 8-3
No. 3 Coffey/Djananova (MT) def. Richole Berger/Cape (UAB) 8-0

Friend of the Blue Raiders? Like us on Facebook and become part of the True Blue army today.