LAFAYETTE, La. (AStateRedWolves.com) – The Arkansas State women's tennis team fought back to tie Middle Tennessee 3-3 with one match remaining, but couldn't get the fourth win as the Blue Raiders defeated A-State by a score of 4-3 in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tennis Tournament at Red Lerille's in Lafayette, La. Thursday afternoon.
MTSU improves to 11-11 on the season and advances to play Troy in the second round. Arkansas State finishes the season with a mark of 5-11.
Arkansas State got down 3-1 before Tamara Slijepcevic defeated Irina Constantinide 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 to pull A-State within 3-2. Ioana Teu was able to tie it up at 3-3 with a 6-1, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2 victory over Nayara Moraes.
In the deciding match, Janie Nowland fell to Yuiri Nomoto 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 and the Blue Raiders escaped with the 4-3 win over the Red Wolves.
"The girls gave it their best effort and left their hearts and souls out on the court," ASU tennis coach Marina Engelbrecht said. "That's all you can ask for as a coach and I'm proud of how they played. We would have loved to win, but we can go home knowing we gave it everything. Losses like today just motivate you to work harder next year."
In the other singles matches, Biljana Miloshevska registered the first A-State point with a 6-4, 6-2 straight set win over Flavia Nagayama. Carla Nava defeated Jess Heeps-Eriksen 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 and Chiara Stefanov fell in straight sets 6-0, 6-3 to Alexandra Torres.
A-State's pair of Heeps-Eriksen/Slijepcevic defeated Nava/Torres by a score of 8-6, but ASU couldn't get a win from its other duos to record the doubles point. Nowland/Teu lost to Constantinide/Moraes 8-6 and Miloshevska/Sofia Krsmanovic fell to Nomoto/Nagayama by a count of 8-6 as MTSU took the doubles point.
The A-State tennis season comes to a close with the loss and marks the end of senior Ioana Teu's Arkansas State career.
1. Constantinide, Irina/Moraes, Nayara (MT) def. Nowland, Janie/Teu, Ioana (ASU) 8-6
2. Nomoto, Yuiri/Nagayama, Flavia (MT) def. Miloshevska, Biljana/Krsmanovic, Sofia (ASU) 8-6
3. Heeps-Eriksen, Jess/Slijepcevic, Tamara (ASU) def. Nava, Carla/Torres, Alexandra (MT) 8-6