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Homestand nearing its end as Blue Raiders play Friday

MT looks to bounce back at on-campus facility

March 24, 2011 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Three matches remain on the Middle Tennessee women's tennis homestand and the trio begins with a 1 p.m. Friday start against Denver at the on-campus Buck Bouldin Tennis Center. The homestand, consisting of eight contests in all, is the longest for the Blue Raiders since 2000.

"We appreciate all the support our fans have given us thus far this season," head coach Melissa Schaub said, "but with only a few more opportunities to catch us at home this spring, we want them to continue and show up and cheer for us."

Middle Tennessee has dropped its two most recent matches, last weekend to Arkansas State and Memphis, to fall to 5-7 on the campaign. Senior Carla Nava has won her last three singles matchups to improve to a team-best 7-5 in dual action this spring, playing primarily at the No. 3 position.

Sophomore Lexi Brand also captured a victory in the Memphis setback Sunday to join Nava as the only Blue Raiders with current winning streaks during singles play.

Brand has paired with junior Marietta Bigus for a two-match winning streak at No. 2 doubles, including a hard-fought triumph over the Lady Tigers. Nava and classmate Alex Dachos dropped a 9-8 tiebreaking heartbreaker as Memphis claimed the doubles point in the match.

Denver, under the direction of head coach Jeremy Wurtzman, enters the contest with a 4-10 mark after dropping three straight, all on the road. The Pioneers' latest decision was a 7-0 loss at No. 25 San Diego Saturday, while also suffering defeats at Texas Tech and San Diego State.

All four previous times the two schools have met Denver came away as the victor, including three instances in which the Pioneers were ranked in the Top 50.

Live stats for Friday's match will be available on GoBlueRaiders.com and admission is free to the contest.

Getting to Know...Yuiri Nomoto

1. How did you first hear about Middle Tennessee? I used to live in Australia and my coach knew the previous coach here, so I had connections. I sent them a video and they liked it. That is how I got here.
2. Did you envision coming to the states to play college tennis? Yes, that was something that I had always wanted to do, being a college tennis player, since I was little. Then I wanted to be a pro tennis player after that.
3. What is your major and why did you choose it? I am majoring in athletic training. I want to work with athletes and I want to work outside. I never wanted to work in an office.
4. What is your favorite class? Well, it is definitely not anatomy, I can tell you that. Not English, not history. I guess it would be my training classes.
5. What do you consider to be the strength of your game and what area do you feel like you need to work on? My strength would be my consistency, the fact that I can attack and be in control of the points. I am good at strategy, like where to place the ball to make my opponent hit it where I want them to. I need to improve on how I play ranked opponents. They are really good at forcing mistakes and I am wasting opportunities. They do not waste anything and I need to be more like that.
6. What did you enjoy most about the team bonding experience? It was a scavenger hunt and it was fun. Carla would run into service stations and get quarters from the states of all of the teams in the Sun Belt. We got them all. And we had pictures made with horses.
7. What improvements have you noticed in the team since the fall? Everyone has improved a lot. Alex (Dachos) has really improved. She changed a lot of things over the summer. She is twice as good as she used to be. Everyone of the team has more experience. Last year, as a freshman, I did not know what was going on. This year, it is not a whole new experience for me and I can perform better on the court. As a team, I think we can do a lot better too.
8. What teammate is the most competitive? Everyone on this team is competitive. That is the really good part about this team. They work hard on the court every day. The coaches rarely have to tell someone that they did not try hard today or get mad at us for not being competitive. If I had to name one, it would be Alex. She is competitive on and off the court.
9. Where on campus do you go to study? The library most of the time. I study in my room too but sometimes I go to sleep when I do that.
10. What do you plan on doing after graduation? I am planning to go to grad school. I might try one year to see how my tennis goes, but if that does not work out, then I will go to grad school and be a grad assistant and do athletic training. That is my major right now. I would like to do it here if possible. I like Tennessee a lot. It is a very friendly place.

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