No. 73 Michigan State Drops First Match Of The Season
Feb. 18, 2007
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State women's tennis team fell to East Tennessee State, 4-3, on Sunday. Despite a winning effort in doubles, the Spartans were unable to pull out the win in singles, dropping three tough singles matches in three sets. The Buccaneers handed MSU its first loss of the season dropping its record to 7-1.
Before today's loss, the Spartan team matched the best-ever MSU opening mark, 7-0, set by the 1972 team.
"We just took this match like we take the other ones," said MSU sophomore Stephanie Kebler. "We just wanted to leave it all on the court."
Michigan State cruised through doubles to earn the point and a 1-0 lead heading into singles play.
"The doubles point is so crucial to have the momentum going to singles, and it can make such a huge difference in the end," said Kebler.
The Spartan duo of Sarah Andrews and Jessica Baron earned the first MSU victory at No. 3 with an 8-3 win over Vita Maskaliova and Brittany Stewart. At No. 1, Kebler and Christine Bader jumped ahead early and maintained their lead to finish ahead of Masha Ilina and Yevgeniya Stupak, 8-5. The win sealed the doubles point for the Spartans.
In singles, Baron remained undefeated with a win over Maskaliova at No. 6, 6-3, 6-2, advancing the Spartan lead 2-0. Stupak put the Buccaneers back in the match with a win at No. 3 over Schnitzer. Schnitzer fell for just the second time this season, 6-2, 6-1.
At No. 1, Bader grabbed the first set 6-1, before falling to Ilina 7-6 in the second. In the final set, Ilina bested Bader 6-1 to knot the team score 2-2.
With a win at No. 5 by Elena Volobueva over Milosavljevic, East Tennessee State took the lead 3-2. Milosavljevic finished the first set ahead, 6-4, but dropped the next set 6-2, forcing a third. In the final set, Volobueva came away with the win, 6-4.
Andrews also fell in three sets at No. 4, giving the Buccaneers a 4-2 lead and the win. Despite losing the first set, 3-6, Andrews fought her way back into the second coming up with a 7-5 victory. In the final set Andrews fell behind 0-5 before getting back in at 2-5. She was unable to pull off the comeback, falling 6-2.
The longest match of the day was played at No. 2, where Kebler finished, 7-6, in a first-set tiebreak over Batsula. Batsula took a 5-2 lead in the second set, but Kebler pushed her way back in winning three-straight games to post a 5-5 score before Batsula retired, to post the final score at 4-3.
"I was playing really smooth at the beginning of the match so at the end I was trying to remember my strategy from the first half of the first set, because it was so much smoother," said Kebler. "Then when I saw she was getting tired I just wanted to put more balls in the court and I just relaxed."
"There were a lot of positives today.," said Spartan head coach Erica Perkins. "East Tennessee State showed us what we need to work on, on the singles court, and I think our girls will bounce back and be stronger than ever next weekend."
Michigan State will look to get back on track against Bowling Green on Feb. 24 at 4:30 p.m., in East Lansing.
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