MARTIN, Tenn. – The showdown between the two best Ohio Valley Conference tennis teams did not disappoint, as today’s match came down to a tiebreaker singles point but the University of Tennessee at Martin came up just short in a 4-3 loss to SIUE.
Despite the loss, the Skyhawks (11-4, 7-1 OVC) can still earn a share of the 2017 OVC regular season championship with a victory against Eastern Illinois and an SIUE loss at Southeast Missouri tomorrow. Today’s result snapped an 11-match winning streak for UT Martin, who was looking to avenge last season’s OVC Tournament championship setback against the Cougars.
Things started off well for the Skyhawks, as UT Martin nabbed the doubles point with a pair of gritty wins. Burcu Tari and Andrea Plantada Cortes notched a 6-3 win at No. 3 while Jemima Potter and Sarah Candeloro polished off the doubles point with a 6-4 triumph at No. 1.
The Skyhawks held a 3-1 lead halfway through singles play but SIUE (18-0, 8-0 OVC) escaped with the last three points – including two tiebreaker singles wins. Plantada Cortes accounted for a 6-3, 6-0 win at No. 5 before Asel Jumamukhambetova earned a 6-4, 6-4 victory at No. 3. In the final two singles matchups, UT Martin won the first set but the Cougars were able to manage comebacks and win both decisions in three sets.
UT Martin wraps up the regular season on Saturday, April 15 when it hosts Eastern Illinois at 2 p.m. The three Skyhawk seniors (Candeloro, Hitomi Naito, Tari) will have their career accomplishments recognized in a brief pregame ceremony as part of Senior Day festivities.