Women's Tennis two-steps in Texas this weekend

Blue Raiders play three matches to close out regular season

April 2, 2014 · @MTAthletics

Middle Tennessee women's tennis closes out the regular season with a three-match swing in Texas this weekend. The Blue Raiders take on SMU on Thursday, play Texas State in a neutral site match on Friday and close out the weekend with a road match against UT Arlington.

The Raiders (9-6) have won three out of their last four matches, including wins over Charlotte and UNCG last week. Senior Tiffany William leads Middle Tennessee with a 12-3 mark during the duals season. Along with William, veterans Irina Constantinide and Flavia Nagayama have won two-straight matches. Junior Nayara Moraes ranks ninth all-time at MT with 63 career victories and could move to seventh with three wins this weekend.

"These three matches are important as they will set the tone for us going into the Conference USA Championship in two weeks," said head coach Shelley Godwin. "We gained some positive momentum last weekend and need to continue to build on that as we focus on competing together as a team from the first point until the last."

The SMU Mustangs (6-11) meet the Raiders for the second time on Thursday. MT won the previous match, 4-3, on March 26, 2004. Currently, SMU has lost three out of its last four matches. The Mustangs fell 5-2 to No. 24 Houston last Wednesday. SMU is led by Yana Erkeeva and Dasha Sharapova, who have combined for 20 singles victories in dual action this spring. The tandem of Sharapova and Vaszilisza Bulgkova own a 7-3 record at No. 1 doubles. Thursday's match is set for a 4 p.m. first serve at the Northwood Country Club in Dallas.

On Friday, the Blue Raiders and UT Arlington meet for the first time. The Mavericks (9-7) have won two out of their last three, including a 4-3 victory against SMU last week. Four players hold winning averages with Jessica Birowski leading the way with a perfect 11-0 mark. In doubles action, only Birowski and Giada D'ortona lead the way with a 6-5 record. Friday's first serve is set for 2 p.m. in Arlington.

Middle Tennessee closes out the season with a first ever meeting against the Texas State Bobcats (8-7). TSU has lost four out of its last six with the only victories coming against Alabama State and Arkansas State. Top singles player Jessica Kahts leads the Bobcats with an overall 21-9 record and a 10-5 mark in dual play. Kahts and teammate Ana Laura Gutierrez have combined for team-best 8-5 record in No. 1 doubles. The season finale is slated for an 11 a.m. start in Arlington.

Results of this weekend's matches will be available online at GoBlueRaiders.com.

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