Raiders outlast ASU to advance to SBC Quarterfinals

Nomoto gets crucial match-clinching victory

April 18, 2013 · @MTAthletics

LAFAYETTE, La. - No. 6 seed Middle Tennessee staved off a potential upset from No. 11 Arkansas State to advance to the Sun Belt Championship Quaterfinals on Friday.

The Blue Raiders (11-11) opened to a 2-0 advantage before ASU won three out of the next four singles points. Senior Yuiri Nomoto won a three-set contest to clinch the match and create a rematch with No. 3 Troy on Friday at 11:30 a.m. Arkansas State's season ended with a 5-11 record.

Doubles was hotly contested by both teams with Arkansas State making the first punch. The No. 3 tandem of Jess Heeps-Eriksen/Tamara Slijepcevic defeated Carla Nava and Alexandra Torres, 8-6. 

MT evened the doubles contest to 1-1 when Nomoto and Flavia Nagayama claimed an 8-6 victory at court two over Biljana Miloshevska and Sofia Krsmanovic. The Blue Raiders snatched the doubles point thanks to an 8-6 victory from the No. 1 duo of Irina Constantinide/Nayara Moraes over ASU's Janie Nowland/Ioana Teu.

In singles action, it was the freshman Torres that claimed the second point with a 6-0, 6-3 sweep over Chiara Stefanov at the six spot. 

ASU earned its first point of the day as Miloshevska defeated Nagayama, 6-4, 6-2 at the No. 4 court.

A three-set battle tilted in Middle Tennessee's favor. Nava shook off a 3-6 loss to Heeps-Eriksen in the first set, winning the final two contests 6-3, 6-1 to claim the third point.

Much like the previous singles point, ASU returned the favor in the top spot. Constantinide cruised to a 6-1 victory over Slipjepcevic before falling 3-6, 1-6 in the final two frames. Arkansas State evened the match at 3-3 with a three-set win from Teu over Moraes (6-1, 6-7, 6-2).

Advancing to the next round hinged on the No. 2 matchup of MT's Nomoto and Arkansas State's Nowland. Nomoto secured a 7-5 first set win, but fell short in the second contest 4-6. The third set victory of 6-1 by Nomoto clinched the match for Middle Tennessee.

"Today was an absolute battle," said head coach Shelley Godwin. "The high winds created adversity for both teams, but we just continued to create opportunities and take advantage of them. I'm really proud of the way we fought and the complete team effort today."

The Blue Raiders take on No. 3 seed Troy, who had a bye, in the Sun Belt Championship Quarterfinals on Friday. First serve is set for 11:30 a.m. at Red Lerille's Health and Racquet Club in Lafayette. Live stats of the match will be available online at GoBlueRaiders.com.

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