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Blue Raiders Ready for Sun Belt Championships

April 20, 2006 · MT Media Relations
MOBILE, Ala. - The Middle Tennessee's women's tennis team begins action Friday in the Sun Belt Championships, facing North Texas at 9 a.m. in the first round at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala.

The Blue Raiders (7-14) have played four freshman and two sophomores all season, including Elvira Yusupova, who enrolled at Middle Tennessee in January. Ojeda says her team has seen its ups-and-downs this season but has continued to work hard and improve every day.

"Our goal everyday as a team has been for our players to compete day-in and day-out, not only in matches but in practice," Ojeda said. "We have to be competing because we only have six players. I really feel like we've done that.

"Individually certain players have taken off and some are still trying to figure it out, but they're all a work in progress."

Middle Tennessee is led by sophomore Ann-Kristin Siljestrom and freshman Pooja Kommireddi, who have combined for 29 dual match singles victories this spring.

Siljestrom has played at Nos. 3 and 4 in the lineup, posting a 12-7 dual match record, including wins in her last four matches. The Stockholm, Sweden, native also has 14 doubles wins this year, second-best on the team.

Kommireddi leads the Blue Raiders with a 26-5 singles record this year, including a 17-2 mark in dual matches. She has played most of the season at No. 6 and has won 11 straight matches, with wins at No. 4 and No. 5 in the lineup along the way. The 26 victories ranks Kommireddi tied for fourth on the single-season list with Katja Kuehner (2000) and Manon Kruse (2004).

"Pooja and Ann-Kristin are players who are going to do whatever it takes to win and they've had good results," Ojeda said. "Marlene [Chemin] has done a great job at getting better but it's not going to show on the scoresheet because she plays so high in the lineup. And Claudia [Szabo] has made the biggest changes but she can't implement it right now because she's hurt.

Ojeda says her team is ready for the 10-team tournament, which ends with Sunday's championship match at 10 a.m.

"Our goal all along was to be ready for the tournament and I think we are now more than ever."

A bracket for the tournament may be found on the women's tennis page at GoBlueRaiders.com.

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