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MT falls short in upset bid of No. 19 Tulsa

Middle Tennessee finishes season 12-10

April 18, 2014 · @MTAthletics

NORFOLK, Va. - Middle Tennessee women's tennis narrowly missed out on an upset win and a berth to the Conference USA Championship semifinals, falling 4-3 to No. 19 Tulsa on Friday at the Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center on the campus of Old Dominion University.

The Blue Raiders picked up three singles wins and narrowly lost the doubles point to end the season 12-10 overall. MT took the first doubles point before falling in the final two, as the top-seeded Golden Hurricane (16-4) evaded the upset. Tulsa faces No. 4 seed Marshall on Saturday.

Tulsa opened up to a two-point lead to start the match. Irina Constantinide fell 6-4, 6-2 to Marcelina Chichon. Nayara Moraes lost a three-set match to Tulsa's Rongrong Leenabancho (6-3, 2-6, 0-6). Jesse Grace bounced back with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over Renata Kuricova at Court No. 2.

MT tied the match when junior Tiffany William upset No. 116th ranked Yelena Nemchen, 6-1, 6-7, 6-3. Sarah Sediri fell to Tulsa's Maria Sant'Anna 6-1, 6-0 to get the Golden Hurricane with one point of clinching the match. Senior Flavia Nagayama won a big match for MT, defeating Saana Saarteinen, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, to force doubles.

Middle Tennessee took the No. 1 doubles point when the tandem of William and Moraes upended Kuricova/Cichon, 8-3. The Golden Hurricane evened the doubles match when San'Anna and Saarteninen won 8-4 over MT's Sediri/Nagayama at Court 3. Tulsa won the match when Leenabancho and Carol Benito narrowly won 8-6 over MT's Grace and Constantinide.

"I couldn't be more proud of the way our girls represented Middle Tennessee today," said head coach Shelley Godwin. "They took a step forward for our program in the way they competed and left everything on the court against a nationally ranked Tulsa team."

The Raiders closed out the season 12-10 on the year. William closed out the year with an 18-4 record in singles action, while Moraes had 23 overall wins during the 2013-14 campaign.

#19 Tulsa 4, Middle Tennessee 3

Singles competition

1. Tiffany William (MT) def. #116 Yelena Nemchen (TULSA) 6-1, 6-7 (7-9), 6-3
2. Jesse Grace (MT) def. Renata Kuricova (TULSA) 3-6, 6-1, 6-1
3. Rongrong Leenabancho (TULSA) def. Nayara Moraes (MT) 3-6, 6-2, 6-0
4. Marcelina Cichon (TULSA) def. Irina Constantinide (MT) 6-4, 6-2
5. Flavia Nagayama (MT) def. Saana Saarteinen (TULSA) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
6. Maria Sant'Anna (TULSA) def. Sarah Sediri (MT) 6-1, 6-0

Doubles competition

1. Tiffany William/Nayara Moraes (MT) def. Renata Kuricova/Marcelina Cichon (TULSA) 8-3
2. Rongrong Leenabancho/Carol Benito (TULSA) def. Jesse Grace/Irina Constantinide (MT) 8-6
3. Maria Sant'Anna/Saana Saarteinen (TULSA) def. Sarah Sediri/Flavia Nagayama (MT) 8-4

Match Notes:

Middle Tennessee 12-10
Tulsa 16-4; National ranking #19
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (4,3,2,1,6,5)

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