Spartans Battle to Defeat Maryland, 4-2
MSU secures first victory in program history over Maryland.
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State women’s tennis defeated conference opponent Maryland, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon at the Michigan Athletic Club (MAC). This is the team’s first-ever victory over the Terrapins in program history.
MSU improves to 15-7 on the season, with a 6-4 mark in Big Ten play. The team also holds a 9-2 record in home matches this season.
“We were really even, Maryland and us. It was a battle and I saw the girls play some of the best tennis I’ve seen them play all season,” head coach Kim Bruno said. “We knew it was going to take something extraordinary like that, and here we are sitting on a fun victory – I couldn’t be more proud of the girls.”
Maryland secured the doubles point with wins on courts one and three, giving the Terrapins an early 1-0 lead in the match.
The Terrapins got on the board first for the doubles point as senior Lexi Baylis and freshman Ava Thielman fell on court three to Katsiaryna Yemelyanenka and Saya Usui, 6-2.
The duo of juniors Emily Metcalf and Davina Nguyen evened the race with a thrilling 6-3 victory over Ekaterina Tour and Arnelle Sullivan at No. 2 doubles.
The doubles point was clinched on court one as senior Habiba Shaker and freshman Sara Kuuttila fell in a close match to Eva Alexandrova and Millie Stretton, 7-5.
After a slight hiatus at the beginning of singles play due to a power outage at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility, play resumed at the MAC with singles one, three, four and five picking up first, followed by singles two and six.
At No. 4 singles, Nguyen defeated Sullivan in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3, to tie the match at 1-1.
Maryland responded with a win on court three, as Kuuttila was defeated by Stretton, 7-5, 6-2.
On court one, Shaker downed Alexandrova in a thrilling come-from-behind win, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, as she dropped the first set, won the second and won the third after being down 4-0 in the set. This was Shaker’s second victory at No. 1 singles this weekend and her fourth-straight conference victory.
“Habiba’s just been getting better and better. You wouldn’t think coming in as a senior, but she’s believing in herself; the kid is just flat out good,” Bruno said. “She had to play some of the best tennis to beat the girl from Maryland because she’s flat out good too. It was fun to see and fun to be apart of.”
At No. 5 singles, Metcalf fended off a Maryland comeback with a 7-6, 2-6, 6-3 victory over Zoe Kulkarni.
The match was clinched at 4-2, as sophomore Samantha Memije secured her ninth conference win at No. 6 singles, with a dominating 6-2, 6-1 victory over Yemelyanenka.
The Spartans return to the court to conclude their five-match home stand to close out the regular season as they host No. 24 Michigan on Senior Day on Saturday, April 21. The match is set to begin at 3:30 p.m. MSU will recognize the team’s three seniors: Lexi Baylis, Aslina Chua and Habiba Shaker.