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Road trip to Arkansas on tap for women’s tennis

Blue Raiders own five-match win streak entering weekend

March 29, 2012 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Middle Tennessee women’s tennis will take its five-match winning streak on the road this weekend, traveling to Arkansas for a pair of contests against Sun Belt opponents. The Blue Raiders begin the swing at 1 p.m. Friday against Arkansas State in Jonesboro, Ark., before heading to Little Rock for a 10 a.m. Saturday meeting with UALR.

“This weekend will be a good test for us as we hit the road for the first time in a couple of weeks,” head coach Shelley Godwin said. “We have gained a lot of momentum and confidence over our homestand and will have to draw on these against Arkansas State and UALR.”

Middle Tennessee picked up its fifth-straight victory Sunday when it handed rival Western Kentucky a 7-0 setback. The triumph concluded the Blue Raiders’ season-long four-match homestand, as they earned wins over Murray State, Northern Iowa and Austin Peay in addition to the Lady Toppers.

The five-consecutive victories improve MT’s overall record to 10-4, marking just the third season in the last eight years it has garnered double-digit wins. The last time Middle Tennessee accomplished the feat was 2010.

Senior Marietta Bigus, freshman Nayara Moraes and sophomore Flavia Nagayama each boast a five-match winning streak in singles action, while junior Lexi Brand has won her last four contests. The well-balanced lineup features all seven active members of the squad owning double-digit singles triumphs in 2011-12 with Brand and Moraes topping the dual-match records with 10-4 ledgers.

Sun Belt Player of the Week, junior Yuiri Nomoto, completed the sweep over WKU with her straight-set decision against the Lady Toppers’ No. 1 singles player, Monta Reinfelde. It marked Reinfelde’s first singles loss of the campaign, after she earlier lost for the first time this year in doubles at the top slot to Brand and Moraes.

The duo of Brand and Moraes leads a resurgence in doubles for the Blue Raiders, as all three tandems have won their last two matches entering the weekend. Bigus and Nomoto at No. 2 and senior Alex Dachos and Nagayama at the final position have completed two doubles sweeps in a row and three of the last four matches.

Dachos and Nagayama have compiled a team-best four victories during the dual campaign.

Arkansas State owns an 8-3 record entering Friday’s contest, having most recently defeated Central Arkansas 7-0 Wednesday afternoon. The Red Wolves had won six-in-a-row before dropping a 5-2 decision to Northwestern State March 16.

Middle Tennessee leads the all-time series 8-6 and has won four of the last five meetings, including a 4-2 victory in 2010 the last time the programs played in Jonesboro.

UALR is 11-10 this spring after a 6-0 triumph over Arkansas-Pine Bluff Wednesday afternoon. The Trojans boasted winning streaks of five and four matches this spring before losing three times in their last five matches.

The Blue Raiders own a 14-6 all-time record in the series, including six-consecutive triumphs dating back to the last setback in 2006.

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