OVC Championship Central
MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin tennis team makes its 24th appearance in the last 25 years in the Ohio Valley Conference Championships, held at the Centennial Sportsplex Tennis Center on April 21-23 in Nashville, Tenn.
The Skyhawks posted an 8-1 OVC mark this spring to earn the No. 2 seed and an automatic berth into the league semifinals on Saturday, April 22. UT Martin will face the winner of Friday’s matchup between No. 3 Eastern Kentucky and No. 6 Murray State at 10 a.m. The league championship will take place on Sunday, April 23 at 10 a.m. Admission is free to each day of the 2017 tournament.
Although the Skyhawks have won the OVC regular season championship three times since 2006, UT Martin is in search of its first OVC tournament title since 2005. The Skyhawks have made nine appearances in the league finals since joining the OVC in 1993 – the second-most of any school in that span.
UT Martin owns a 25-21 all-time record in the OVC Tournament, including a 17-9 all-time record against the 2017 field which also consists of No. 1 SIUE, No. 4 Eastern Illinois and No. 5 Southeast Missouri.
Sarah Candeloro leads all active Skyhawks with six career OVC Tournament wins (three singles, three doubles). The senior out of Dover, Del. has a team-high 24 combined singles wins this year while competing at No. 1 all season.
This spring, Asel Jumamukhambetova (8-1 OVC) and Andrea Plantada Cortes (9-0 OVC) each account for a team-high 12 singles wins while Plantada Cortes carried a 12-game winning streak into the weekend.
In doubles, Jemima Potter leads UT Martin with 21 victories – as she has teamed with Candeloro to go 8-0 at No. 1 in OVC play. The team of Burcu Tari and Plantada Cortes has won its last seven decisions at No. 3.
Tari is the Skyhawks’ all-time combined wins leader (165) while also ranking fourth in program history with 84 singles victories and 81 doubles wins. Meanwhile, Candeloro ranks in the top-five all-time in combined wins (160, fourth), singles wins (84, fourth) and doubles wins (76, fifth). Naito also ranks ninth in combined victories (135) and tied for seventh in doubles wins (72).
Eastern Kentucky finished the regular season with a 10-10 record while going 6-3 in the OVC. The Skyhawks won 6-1 in Richmond on March 18, as the only point the Colonels could manage was at No. 6 singles. On the season, Sagung Putri Dwinta leads Eastern Kentucky with 17 singles victories and 11 doubles wins while Viktorija Demcenjova posted a team-best 7-2 OVC singles record.
Murray State went 7-11 overall with a 4-5 OVC mark this season. UT Martin managed a 6-1 road win over the Racers on April 2, as Murray State’s lone point came courtesy of No. 6 singles. Alina Schibol (team-high five OVC singles wins) and Claire Change shared the team lead with 12 singles wins and also teamed together for a team-best 12 doubles wins at No. 1. Amina Hadzic and Anja Loncarevic also posted a 6-1 OVC doubles mark for the Racers.