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This Week in Women's Tennis

April 8, 2006 · MT Media Relations
OJEDA SAYS TEAM STILL CONFIDENT: Head coach Alison Ojeda and the Blue Raiders have lost six straight matches, including two losses last weekend when they played one played short Saturday and two players short on Sunday. But the first-year leader says her team is still confident and No. 1 player Marlene Chemin, who had to withdraw from Saturday's match against Arkansas-Little Rock with dehydration, might have hit a turning point for the season.

"The team is doing pretty well and they're all finally playing pretty well," Ojeda said. "We're still a confident team and we still know what our goals are. The team knows where we are.

"Marlene was sick last weekend but battled through to win the first set [on Saturday] before she had to pull out. That might be one of the most pivotal points of the season because she had to find ways to win points. She couldn't run all over the place and run down balls.

"Claudia [Szabo] stepped up and played No. 1 [on Sunday] and now she has the confidence that she can play at that spot, so we might change that up this weekend [against UAB and Memphis].

The bottom of the Middle Tennessee lineup has been stellar for most of the season, with sophomore Ann-Kristin Siljestrom posting 10 dual match wins and freshman Pooja Kommireddi accounting for 15 dual match victories.

"Ann-Kristin had a good win and she has some great confidence. Elvira [Yusupova] is really the only one struggling right now. This is the first time she's ever played in a team setting and she feels like she's letting the team down because she's losing. But our team's not like that. It's all about working hard," Ojeda said.

"I wish I could put Pooja's determination and attitude in everyone. Winning is a habit and she's willing to do whatever it takes to win a match. She'll change her game or do whatever she has to do. She actually plays better higher in the lineup, but right now I don't want to change things too much."

KOMMIREDDI APPROACHING TOP 5: Freshman Pooja Kommireddi has a 24-5 singles record this year, just one victory away from tying for sixth and two wins short of tying for fourth on the single-season wins list at Middle Tennessee. With a victory Saturday against UAB the Hyderabad, India, native would tie Elina Durchman (1979) and Tanja Buchheim (2000) for sixth on the single-season list. Another victory on Sunday versus Memphis would place Kommireddi in a tie for fourth with Katja Kuehner (2000) and Manon Kruse (2004). Kommireddi's .828 winning percentage would rank fourth on the single-season list behind Laura Martin (21-3, .875, 1982), Manon Kruse (26-5, .838, 2004) and Glenys Wilson (.838, 20-4, 1981).

ADAMS SET FOR RETURN: Freshman Kelly Adams should return to the court this weekend after missing both matches in Arkansas. Adams received treatment for a troublesome back injury on March 29 and did not make the trip to Arkansas last weekend. She returned to practice on Wednesday this week and should be back in the lineup Saturday against UAB.

THIS WEEKEND: The Blue Raiders were scheduled to take on UAB in Birmingham Saturday morning, but because of the inclement weather Friday afternoon and night in Murfreesboro, the team was not able to get out of town. Therefore, Saturday's match has been canceled and UAB will come to Murfreesboro sometime next weekend. The Blue Raiders head to Memphis for a Sunday outing at 10 a.m. against the Tigers. Middle Tennessee plays Marshall next Saturday, April 15, at 9 a.m. at the Buck Bouldin Tennis Center.

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