Friday road match up next for Middle Tennessee
First of three-straight away from MurfreesboroApril 5, 2012 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The two best teams in the Sun Belt in terms of records square off at 2:30 p.m. Friday as Middle Tennessee travels to Monroe, La., to face ULM at Raymond Heard Stadium.
The Blue Raiders bring an eight-match win streak and 13-4 overall record into the contest after closing their home slate Tuesday with a 7-0 triumph over Lipscomb. Middle Tennessee continues to put up results unseen in the program in quite some time, including the most victories since 2002, longest win streak since 2000 and first unbeaten home record since 1998.
Four Blue Raiders have posted double-digit singles victories this spring, led by freshman Nayara Moraes’ 13-4 record. She has won her last eight and is 9-1 in her last 10 matches, improving her combined fall and spring singles ledger to 20-8.
Another newcomer, sophomore transfer Flavia Nagayama, is right on Moraes’ heels for best record this spring with a 12-5 mark. Nagayama, the current Sun Belt Player of the Week, owns a team-best combined 21-8 record and also has won her last eight and nine of her most recent 10 contests.
Nagayama and Moraes are the first set of Middle Tennessee teammates to win 20 matches apiece since 2005-06 when Pooja Kommireddi picked up 27 and Kelly Adams posted 20.
The solid pair in the middle of the lineup anchors strong play on both sides, as well, as junior Lexi Brand boats a 12-5 singles record this spring and senior Marietta Bigus adds an 11-6 mark. Bigus matches Moraes and Nagayama with her current eight-match win streak and 9-1 ledger in her last 10. Both Brand and Bigus own 19 combined victories, including the fall tournament campaign.
Rounding out the strong singles lineup for MT is top position player, junior Yuiri Nomoto, who won the Sun Belt Player of the Week nod a week ago, and senior Taylor Coffey. Both have registered at least 15 combined spring and fall singles triumphs and are nearing the double-digit plateau in 2012.
In doubles, Middle Tennessee is nearly as strong. The Blue Raiders have won the point in four of their last five matches, including three sweeps, helping to provide the momentum entering singles competition.
Nagayama and senior Alex Dachos own the best ledger of any pairing with a 7-2 record, including five-straight victories. The duo was the lone MT tandem to win at UALR Saturday. However, the other combinations of Bigus/Nomoto and Brand/Moraes have earned five and four triumphs, respectively, heading into Friday.
ULM brings the league’s best record into the contest at 12-2, including an eight-match win streak of its own. The Warhawks are coming off a 6-1 triumph over Arkansas State Sunday.
Medy Blankvoort paces ULM with a 14-0 singles mark this spring. She has won 15 consecutive dual matches dating back to last spring.
Friday’s meeting will mark the fourth in the series with the Warhawks claiming a slim 2-1 advantage after last year’s victory.
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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